Mercury-bound spacecraft whizzes past the smallest planet for the second time

Mercury-bound spacecraft whizzes past the smallest planet for the second time

The Mercury-bound probe BepiColombo has taken its second look at its target plane today during a super-close bypass designed to slow down the spacecraft and adjust its trajectory.

BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The mission, consisting of two orbiters traveling to Mercury stacked on top of each other, launched in orbit around the sun 2018. Since then, ground controllers have adjusted the orbit of the spacecraft through a series of nine bypasses (one on Earth, two at Venus and six at Mercury itself), to gradually slow down BepiColombo so that it can enter orbit around Solar systems innermost planet 2025.


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