Spacecraft bound for Mercury zooms past smallest planet for 2nd time

The Mercury-linked BepiColombo spacecraft took its second look at its target planet today during a super-close flyby designed to slow the spacecraft and adjust its trajectory.

Bepi Columbus is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The mission, made up of two orbiters traveling to Mercury stacked on top of each other, released in orbit around the Sun in 2018. Since then, ground controllers have been adjusting the spacecraft’s trajectory through a series of nine flyby maneuvers (one on Earth, two on Venus and six on Mercury), to gradually slow down of the BepiColombo so that it can enter orbit around the solar systeminnermost planet of 2025.

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