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Mission to the mysterious planet



  • The first European-led mission to Mercury
  • To launch in 2018, expected to arrive in 2024
  • Mission: To study Mercury’s composition, geophysics, atmosphere, history
  • Airbus Defence and Space is a prime contractor for the project

In 2018, two spacecraft - a European and a Japanese - will set off on a journey to the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in our Solar System.

Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for designing and building one of them, the European Mercury Planetary Orbiter, and the Mercury Transfer Module, the vehicle that will carry both spacecraft to the planet.

When the Europe's first mission to Mercury arrives in 2024, two orbiters will endure temperatures of 350°C and study for at least one year the composition, geophysics, atmosphere and history of the planet.

BepiColombo is a joint mission between European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), executed under ESA leadership.

BepiColombo - Mission to Mercury

BepiColombo: To this day, Mercury remains the most mysterious planet of our solar system. The Sun’s glare makes it impossible to study via telescope and the extreme heat and proximity to the Sun make it hard to reach. As many questions remain unanswered, ESA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have teamed up for the dual spacecraft mission “BepiColombo”, named after the Italian professor Giuseppe ‘Bepi’ Colombo, which is made of 2 separate orbiters: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (supplied by ESA) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (supplied by JAXA), and a propulsion module.

BepiColombo - Protection against infernal heat

BepiColombo - Protection against infernal heat

BepiColombo - Exploring Mercury

BepiColombo - Exploring Mercury

Space exploration

About Space exploration




LISA Pathfinder

Mars Express


Solar Orbiter

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