ESA Top News
15 Oct 2020, 05:15 UTC
The closest approach of the flyby took place at 03:58 GMT (05:58 CEST) this morning at a distance of about 10 720 km from the planet’s surface.
Launched 20 October 2018, the spacecraft needs nine gravity assist flybys – one at Earth, two at Venus and six at Mercury before entering orbit around the planet in 2025. Flybys ultilise the gravitational pull of the planets to help alter the speed and direction of the spacecraft, and together with the spacecraft’s solar electric propulsion system, help BepiColombo steer into Mercury orbit against the strong gravitational pull of the Sun.