From ESA: “Robot meets its masters”

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Seen at ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands, BepiColombo has completed its final tests in launch configuration, the last time it will be stacked like this before being reassembled at the launch site next year to begin its mission to Mercury.

The day before a final media viewing on 6 July 2017, the flight controllers who will operate the robotic explorer had an opportunity to meet ‘their’ spacecraft for the first time.

The team comprises the engineers and specialists dedicated to BepiColombo. They work at ESA’s mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where teams of experts design and develop the facilities, networks and systems to send commands and receive scientific data from all types of missions.

The visit is an important step to allow the controllers to see the spacecraft and receive briefings from the mission scientists and managers with whom they will work closely throughout the life of BepiColombo.

The team, led by Spacecraft Operations Manager Elsa Montagnon, have been working for the past two years defining flight procedures, building up control systems and conducting the initial tests and rehearsals of procedures that will be used to control BepiColombo during its mission.

More information.

BepiColombo operations

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The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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