Meet our new space explorers, the spacecraft of the BepiColombo mission, as they begin their adventure to planet Mercury. But first, they have to navigate through Amsterdam Schiphol airport to reach Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The spacecraft really do depart from Schiphol; along with essential ground-support equipment they are scheduled to fly in a series of Antonov aircraft during the last week of April and first week of May. Upon arrival at Kourou, an intensive six-months of preparations will prepare the mission for launch. The launch window opens 5 October until 29 November 2018.
Explore further: BepiColombo gets green light for launch site