KURU (French Guiana) – BepiColombo, the first European space mission to Mercury, has successfully taken off towards the smaller planet and closer to the Sun of our Solar System, in an attempt to decipher the many unknowns.
The transfer module and the two orbiters, one developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the other by its Japanese counterpart, JAXA, with which the project is jointly launched, departed from the Kurú space center in French Guiana , 01.45 GMT this Saturday (22.45 local time on Friday).
The take-off on board an Ariane 5 rocket respected the scheduled program and the launch phase was completed 26 minutes and 47 seconds later.
Now begins a journey of seven years and two months until the satellite is placed in the orbit of Mercury, where its scientific operations will begin in March 2026 and develop over a year, extending another.
The joint work of the two orbiters will study the origin and the evolution of the planet, its composition, its exosphere and the magnetosphere and will complete the work done by the only two ships that have visited it until today.
Mariner 10 exaggerated him and offered his first close-up photos taken between 1974 and 1975, and Messenger, also an American, flew over him in 2008 and 2009 and was the first to orbit around him, between 2011 and 2015.
These missions have provided answers, but they have also raised new questions. BepiColombo will try to confirm the existence of the ice, will explain the contraction of the interior of the planet or because its magnetic field is located 400 kilometers from its center.
The ESA, whose teams have celebrated this beginning of success, is confident that the best knowledge of a planet so close to its parent star also reveals new information on the overall evolution of our Solar System.