On March 8, the mission passed an important test, which means that three BepiColombo spacecraft, together with ground equipment and experts, proved that they can move from the ESA center to the Kourou space center (French Guiana) at the end of next month. The launch window will open from October 5 to November 29.
In parallel, engineers continue to conduct long-term roasting tests on a motor with a replication transmitter in space conditions in order to better prepare for the trip to Mercury.
Kourou will require intensive 6-month training as well as additional checkpoints. The work includes the application of protective insulation to prepare for the harsh conditions of outer space with its extreme temperatures due to the approach to the Sun. They will also check the functionality of the solar wings (their deployment), install a solar screen, refuel and connect three spacecraft. In the last week, BepiColombo will be placed on an Ariane-5 rocket to be sent on a 7-year trip.
The transmitting module will accommodate two scientific orbital devices. They will perform additional measurements of the first planet and its environment from different orbits. They will also fix the level of exposure to the solar wind in order to better understand the processes of formation of Mercury.
BepiColombo is an example of cooperation between ESA and JAXA (Japan). The European Agency provided a transport module, a planetary orbiter, a solar panel, and an interface structure, while the Japanese provided a magnetosphere measurement device.