BepiColombo

This article or section documents a scheduled or expected spaceflight. Details may change as the launch date approaches or more information becomes available.


BepiColombo
[1]
Computer rendition of what the two BepiColumbo orbiters might look like
Organization:European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Major contractors:EADS Astrium is Prime-Contractor for ESA modules.
Mission type:Orbiter
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BepiColombo is a joint Cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the planet Mercury. The mission is still in the planning stages so changes to the current description are likely over the next few years. Due to budgetary constraints and technological difficulties the lander portion of the mission (The Mercury Surface Element, or MSE) was cancelled.

Mission

The mission as currently envisioned involves three components: the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) built by ESA, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) built by ESA and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) built by JAXA. There is a fourth component: The MOSIF the sunshield for the MMO, built by ESA. The Prime-Contractor for ESA is EADS Astrium.[1]. The three components are planned to be launched together on a Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle in August 2013. The spacecraft will have a six year interplanetary cruise to Mercury using solar-electric propulsion and gravity assists from the Moon, Earth, Venus and eventual gravity capture at Mercury.

Arriving in Mercury orbit in August 2019, the spacecraft will have a 1-year nominal scientific life. The MPO will be equipped with eleven scientific instruments provided by various European countries including visible imagers, a laser altimeter and an imaging X-ray spectrometer. Russia will provide a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. It will attempt to map the entire surface, in several different wavelengths, and to find water ice in polar craters which are permanently in shadow from the sun's rays.

Mercury Transfer Module

The mercury transfer module is at the base of the 'stack' and provides propulsion to escape Earth and to approach Mercury. It carries no significant scientific instruments.

Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO)

The Mercury Planetary Orbiter will be a 357 kg spacecraft in the shape of a flat prism with three short sides slanted at 20 degrees covered with solar cells providing 420 W at perihelion. A radiator with an area of 1.5 square meters is mounted on one side to provide thermal control. The radiator is always pointed away from the Sun and is protected from planetary IR with a 3.4 square meter shield. High efficiency insulation is also used. A 1.5 m diameter high gain antenna is mounted on a short boom on the zenith side of the spacecraft. The MPO will be 3-axis stabilized and nadir pointing with a planned lifetime of over 1 year in Mercury orbit. Communications will be on the X/Ka band with an average bit rate of 50 kb/s and a total data volume of 1550 Gb/year. A UHF dipole antenna mounted on the nadir side will be used for possible communications with the MSE. Navigation knowledge is provided by 3 star sensors.

The MPO will carry an imaging system consisting of a wide-angle and narrow angle camera, an infrared spectrometer, an ultraviolet spectrometer, gamm, X-ray, and neutron spectrometers, a laser altimeter, an ion and neutral spectrometer, a Near Earth Object telescope and detection system, and radio science experiments.

ESA has selected Astrium as the prime contractor for the construction of the MPO.[2]

Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)

The Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter has the shape of a flat cylinder with a mass of 165 kg.[3] The MMO is spin stabilized at 15 rpm with the spin axis perpendicular to the equator of Mercury. The top and bottom of the cylinder act as radiators with louvers for active temperature control. The side is covered with solar cells which provide 185 W and second surface mirrors and protected by thermal blankets. Communications with Earth are maintained through a despun 1-meter diameter high-gain offset antenna and two medium-gain antennas operating in the X-band. Telemetry will return 160 Gb of data per year at about 5 kb/s over the lifetime of the craft, which is expected to be greater than one year. A microstrip UHF patch antenna will be used for communication with the MSE. The reaction and control system is based on cold gas thrusters. Deployable booms and wire antennas are stowed until orbit is achieved. The MMO will carry a set of fluxgate magnetometers, charged particle detectors, a wave receiver, a positive ion emitter, and an imaging system.

Mercury Surface Element (MSE)

The Mercury Surface Element has been cancelled due to budgetary constraints. The description which follows gives the general plan for the MSE at the time of cancellation. MSE was meant to be a small (44 kg) lander designed to operate for about one week on the surface of Mercury. Shaped as a 0.9 m diameter disc, it was designed to land at a latitude of 85 degrees near the terminator region. Following the release of the MMO, a burn of the 4 kN thruster would put the MSE into a 10 km orbit. Another braking maneuver controlled by gyros/accelerometers and an optical range/range-rate sensor would bring the MSE to zero velocity at an altitude of 120 meters at which point the propulsion unit would be ejected, the airbags inflated, and the module would fall to the surface with a maximum impact velocity of 30 m/s. If the landing occurs in sunlight a thermal protection cover would deploy. Since 40% of the terrain at the landing point would be in shadow, primary power would be supplied by a 1.7 kWh battery. Scientific data would be stored onboard and relayed via a cross-dipole UHF antenna to either the MPO or MMO at a data rate of 8.7 kb/s, providing for a total of 75 Mb over 7 days, assuming 18 contact periods of 480 seconds each. The MSE would carry a 7 kg payload consisting of an imaging system (a descent camera and a surface camera), a heat flow and physical properties package, an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, a magnetometer, a seismometer, a soil penetrating device (mole), and a micro-rover.

Propulsion

The MTM (Mercury Transfer Module) will utilise two propulsion systems. A standard CPS (Chemical Propulsion System) which is bipropellant using MMH/MON3. The CPS will be utilised for Earth escape and the Lunar fly-by. Post-Lunar escape the CPS will be pyrotechnically isolated and function in blowdown mode for the cruise, only utilising the AOCS. The Space Craft will be propelled in cruise by a form of ion drive dubbed solar electric propulsion, which has a very high specific impulse and very low thrust. Unlike a chemical rocket which fires for a few seconds, it will keep propelling the craft for years, building up far more speed per mass of fuel in the long run. This will be the first mission outside the Earth-Moon system using such a form of propulsion. Bepi Colombu is also the largest solar electric mission so far planned.

This drive will be tested by the unusual need to actually push against the direction of travel, instead of with it; the ship will be falling toward the sun, accelerated by its gravity, and will have to constantly fight to keep its velocity slow enough to eventually enter Mercury's orbit.

Namesake

BepiColombo is named for Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo (1920-1984), scientist, mathematician and engineer at the University of Padua, Italy, who developed the gravity-assist maneuver commonly used by planetary probes today. He helped NASA devise the trajectory of Mariner 10, the only spacecraft having encountered Mercury till today, exploiting this maneuver for the first time around Venus.

See also

References

1. ^ BepiColombo To Enter Implementation Phase. ESA.
2. ^ BepiColombo To Enter Implementation Phase. ESA.
3. ^ H. Yamakawa, H. Ogawa, Y. Kasaba, H. Hayakawa, T. Mukai, M. Adachi (2004). "Current status of the BepiColombo/MMO spacecraft design". Advances in Space Research 33: 2133–2141. DOI:10.1016/S0273-1177(03)00437-X. 

External links

Spaceflight is the use of space technology to fly a spacecraft into and through outer space.

Spaceflight is used in space exploration, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications.
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European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1974, is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 17 member states. Its headquarters are in Paris.
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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (宇宙航空研究開発機構
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EADS Astrium is an aerospace subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

Corporate history

In June 2006, EADS Astrium, EADS Space Transportation and EADS Space Services were merged into a single company; EADS SPACE.
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European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1974, is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 17 member states. Its headquarters are in Paris.
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European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1974, is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 17 member states. Its headquarters are in Paris.
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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (宇宙航空研究開発機構
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Mercury  

Mariner 10 photomosaic of Mercury
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch J2000
Aphelion distance: 69,816,927 km
0.46669733 AU
Perihelion distance: 46,001,210 km
0.
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EADS Astrium is an aerospace subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

Corporate history

In June 2006, EADS Astrium, EADS Space Transportation and EADS Space Services were merged into a single company; EADS SPACE.
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Moon  

The Moon as seen by an observer on Earth
Orbital characteristics
Periapsis: 363,104 km
0.0024 AU
Apoapsis: 405,696 km
0.0027 AU
Semi-major axis: 384,399 km
0.
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EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001. Their greatest hit, their debut single "time after time", peaked at #13 in the Oricon singles chart.
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VENUS is an acronym for the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea . The VENUS project is operated out of the University of Victoria and is an advanced cabled sea floor observatory, consisting of fibre optic cables connecting oceanographic instruments on the sea floor of the
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Mercury  

Mariner 10 photomosaic of Mercury
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch J2000
Aphelion distance: 69,816,927 km
0.46669733 AU
Perihelion distance: 46,001,210 km
0.
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In physics, wavelength is the distance between repeating units of a propagating wave of a given frequency. It is commonly designated by the Greek letter lambda (λ). Examples of wave-like phenonomena are light, water waves, and sound waves.
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EADS Astrium is an aerospace subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

Corporate history

In June 2006, EADS Astrium, EADS Space Transportation and EADS Space Services were merged into a single company; EADS SPACE.
..... Click the link for more information.
A magnetometer is a scientific instrument used to measure the strength and/or direction of the magnetic field in the vicinity of the instrument.

Earth's magnetism varies from place to place and differences in the Earth's magnetic field (the magnetosphere) can be caused by
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Seismometers (in Greek seismos = earthquake and metero = measure) are used by seismologists to measure and record the size and force of seismic waves. By studying seismic waves, geologists can map the interior of the Earth, and measure and locate earthquakes and
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A rover is a space exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other astronomical body. Some rovers have been designed to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots.
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MMH may refer to:
  • Monomethylhydrazine, a chemical with the formula CH3N2H3.
  • The IATA location identifier for Mammoth Yosemite Airport.
  • The private hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, Mackay Memorial Hospital.

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ion thruster (more specifically an electrostatic ion thruster) is one of several types of spacecraft propulsion, specifically electric propulsion. It uses beams of ions — electrically charged atoms or molecules — for propulsion.
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ion thruster (more specifically an electrostatic ion thruster) is one of several types of spacecraft propulsion, specifically electric propulsion. It uses beams of ions — electrically charged atoms or molecules — for propulsion.
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Specific impulse (usually abbreviated Isp) is a way to describe the efficiency of rocket and jet engines. It represents the impulse (change in momentum) per unit of propellant.
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Thrust is a reaction force described quantitatively by Newton's Second and Third Laws. When a system expels or accelerates mass in one direction the accelerated mass will cause a proportional but opposite force on that system.
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For other uses of the name, please see Colombo (disambiguation)
Giuseppe Colombo (October 2, 1920 – February 20, 1984), better known by his nickname Bepi Colombo
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mathematician is a person whose primary area of study and research is the field of mathematics.

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Some people incorrectly believe that mathematics has been fully understood, but the publication of new discoveries in mathematics continues at an immense
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engineer is someone who is trained or professionally engaged in a branch of engineering.[1] Engineers use technology, mathematics, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems.
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University of Padua (Italian Università degli Studi di Padova, UNIPD) located in Padua, Italy was founded in 1222. It is among the earliest of the European universities and the second oldest in Italy. As of 2003 the university had approximately 65,000 students.
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