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Mission to Mercury: Bepi Colombo

Come face-to-face with a full-size engineering model of BepiColombo, the European Space Agency’s first ever spacecraft to explore Mercury

Standing over six metres tall, this Structural Thermal Model (STM) of the spacecraft was used to test BepiColombo’s resilience during its seven-year journey to Mercury—one of the most challenging planetary missions ever launched.

In the course of testing, the model was subjected to extremes of temperatures ranging from -190°C to 400°C, recreating the conditions the spacecraft will face when in shade and when in the illuminated face of Mercury.

Visit the Tomorrow's World gallery for a unique, close-up view of this integral part of a space mission’s development programme.

The BepiColombo STM has been loaned to the Science Museum by the European Space Agency (ESA) and was developed and build for ESA by Airbus, the mission’s prime industrial contractor. BepiColombo is a joint mission between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), under ESA leadership.

Header image: © ESA

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