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BepiColombo Launch

22 Oct 2018, 13:00 UTC
BepiColombo Launch
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Wikipedia dixit:
“The stacked spacecraft will take seven years to position itself to enter Mercury orbit. During this time it will use solar-electric propulsion and nine gravity assists, flying past the Earth and Moon in April 2020, Venus in 2020 and 2021, and six Mercury flybys between 2021 and 2025.
The stacked spacecraft left Earth with an hyperbolic excess velocity of 3.475 km/s (2.159 mi/s). Initially the craft is placed in an orbit similar to that of the Earth. After both the spacecraft and the Earth completed one and a half orbits, it returns to Earth to perform a gravity-assist manoeuvre and is deflected towards Venus. Two consecutive Venus flybys reduce the perihelion nearly to Mercury distance with almost no need for thrust. A sequence of six Mercury flybys will lower the relative velocity to 1.76 km/s (1.09 mi/s). After the fourth Mercury flyby the craft will be in an orbit similar to that of Mercury and will remain in the general vicinity of Mercury. Four final thrust arcs reduce the relative velocity to the point where Mercury will “weakly” capture the spacecraft on 5 December 2025 into polar orbit. Only a small manoeuvre is needed to bring ...

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