OMP > Research > Techniques et missions spatiales > BEPI-COLOMBO / MMO/MPPE/MEA



Artist's impression of the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter in orbit around Mercury. Copyright : ESA

The BepiColombo mission is a joint ESA/JAXA Mercury exploration mission. The mission consists in two platforms, Mercury Planetary Orbiter (DFO) and Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). It will be launched in October 2018 and will arrive around Mercury at the end of 2024.

Objectives : Exploration of Mercury's magnetosphere and solar wind at 0.3 astronomical units

Research Group : PEPS

  • Scientific Responsible : Nicolas André
  • Technical Manager : Nicolas André

Technical involvement

IRAP's instrumental contributions on the MMO/JAXA probe consist in designing, manufacturing and delivering two "electron analyzer" (MEA) sensors. This is a contribution to the Instrumental Set of Charged Particulate Measurements (MPPE of ISAS-JAXA).

Objectives and planning

The flight models of the two MEA sensors were delivered in November 2015 and integrated on the MMO platform at the ESTEC. Tests of the proper functioning and preparation of flight operations are planned for 2017-2018.
The replacement model of a MEA sensor has been calibrated and passed all certification tests to be qualified as a flight model. It is currently stored in a vacuum chamber in a clean room at IRAP.
Activities to prepare test procedures for flight acceptance, telemetry processing and data archiving began in 2016 and will continue until 2019.
The MEA instrument will be regularly switched on during Venus' overflights en route to Mercury, from 2019 to 2025.

Further details

  • The CNES ensure, for all the national partners (CNRS and University labortories), the prime contractorship of the french instrumental contribution to BEPICOLOMBO.
  • The ESA portal dedicated to this mission :

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