Spacecraft to Mercury Succeeds in Swinging by Earth: JAXA

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, April 21 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said Tuesday a spacecraft in a Japan-Europe joint mission succeeded in swinging by Earth on April 10 to head for Mercury.

The BepiColombo spacecraft, which comprises JAXA'S Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, called Mio, the European Space Agency's Mercury Planetary Orbiter and a transfer module to provide solar-electric propulsion, passed some 12,700 kilometers above the South Atlantic Ocean at 1:25 p.m. Japan time (4:25 a.m. GMT) on April 10 and put itself on the track to the closest planet to the sun by using Earths gravity, according to the agency.

Launched on an Arian 5 rocket in October 2018, the spacecraft is scheduled to arrive in Mercury's orbit at the end of 2025 after using Venus and the target planet as other gravitational slingshots.

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