Arianespace has launched BepiColombo spacecraft on its mission to explore Mercury, from Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.

This launch is the seventh in this year and the fifth with Ariane 5.

BepiColombo is a scientific mission to study Mercury. It is carried out jointly by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

This interdisciplinary mission is intended to send two probes to Mercury  as part of a single composite spacecraft.

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BepiColombo is the first European mission to Mercury, and will provide a better understanding of the planet’s history, geology, composition and atmosphere.

“This interdisciplinary mission is intended to send two probes to Mercury as part of a single composite spacecraft.”

Also called as the MCS (Mercury Composite Spacecraft), BepiColombo includes MTM, MPO, MMO and MOSIF.

The Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) will carry orbiters MPO and MMO to their destination.

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The MMO Sunshield and Interface Structure (MOSIF) will protect the MMO from the Sun and will also serve as the interface between the MMO and the MPO.

Developed by ESA, Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will map the planet by focusing on its surface and interior.

Developed and built by JAXA, the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) will study its magnetosphere.

The fifth Ariane 5 launch of the year placed BepiColombo into an Earth escape orbit.

The spacecraft’s arrival at Mercury is planned for late 2025, following which it will undertake a space journey lasting seven years, covering nearly nine billion kilometers.

Once the spacecraft arrives at its destination, the BepiColombo mission will last for one year. Its measurements may be extended for another year.

BepiColombo is the 51st Arianespace mission and the 73rd spacecraft launched for ESA. It also marks the third Arianespace launch of the year for ESA. Four more ESA missions will be launched by the European launch services provider – the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on Ariane 5, two Galileo launches with Ariane 62, and CHEOPS on a Soyuz launcher.