Image: Made for Mercury

March 8, 2018, European Space Agency
Credit: ESA

On 6 March 2018, the BepiColombo engineering model was delivered to ESA's mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

BepiColombo – ESA's first mission to Mercury – is based on two spacecraft: the ESA-led Mercury Planetary Orbiter, with 11 experiments and instruments, and the Japanese space agency-led Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, carrying five experiments and instruments.

The delivered to Darmstadt comprises a 3-D mock-up of the ESA module, plus a 'flat-sat' mock-up of the transfer module, which ties the ESA and Japanese modules together during their cruise to Mercury.

In this photo, Airbus technician Stanislaw Ballardt looks out from inside the ESA module during installation work on 7 March.

The engineering is an electrically faithful replication of the most critical elements of the spacecraft's main platform and flight control systems, such as its computers, mass memory and power systems.

Flight controllers will use the model throughout the mission to check software and procedures before uploading them to the real spacecraft. They will also train for events such as firing the electric thrusters, swinging by planets and separating the modules.

Explore further: Image: Inside BepiColombo's mercury transfer module

Related Stories

Image: Inside BepiColombo's mercury transfer module

October 3, 2014

This labyrinth of power, data and propellant lines is found inside the Mercury Transfer Module, the powerful haulage vehicle tasked with transporting ESA's BepiColombo mission on its 7.5-year journey to the innermost planet.

Image: Robot meets its masters

July 13, 2017

Seen at ESA's technical centre in the Netherlands, BepiColombo has completed its final tests in launch configuration, the last time it will be stacked like this before being reassembled at the launch site next year to begin ...

Recommended for you

Long lost Galileo letter found at Royal Society library

September 26, 2018

Nature journalist Alison Abbott has published a News and Comment piece in the journal detailing the finding of a letter in a Royal Society library purported to have been written by famed early scientist Galileo Galilei. The ...

Software finds the best way to stick a Mars landing

September 26, 2018

Selecting a landing site for a rover headed to Mars is a lengthy process that normally involves large committees of scientists and engineers. These committees typically spend several years weighing a mission's science objectives ...

Hyper Suprime-Cam survey maps dark matter in the universe

September 26, 2018

Today, an international group of researchers, including Carnegie Mellon University's Rachel Mandelbaum, released the deepest wide field map of the three-dimensional distribution of matter in the universe ever made and increased ...

Tracking the interstellar object 'Oumuamua to its home

September 25, 2018

A team of astronomers led by Coryn Bailer-Jones of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has tracked the interstellar object 'Oumuamua to several possible home stars. The object was discovered in late 2017 – this was the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.