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Last updated on 24 August 2018
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@ESA_Bepi, @JAXA_MMO, @ESA_MTM, @BepiColombo
  CSG Report

Today was the electrical function check in mated configuration.

In the evening, AEOLUS was successfully launched with the Vega rocket.
The building which the Bepicolombo team is working had to be evacuated 90 minutes in advance, so the team members viewed the launch from outside CSG. The picture shows the view from Carapa site. Carapa has many advantages; the rocket is visible from lift off, you are able to hear the countdown and there are monitors to show the status of the launch. There are even T-shirts to buy as souveniers. Reservation is not required but because the place is very popular, there is a limit to the number of people that can enter.

Other members watched from the beach, and also by the Lac du Bois Chaudat. The view was good there as well.

Viewing sites inside CSG require booking in advance.

  CSG Report

  CSG Report

MMO is mated with MPO!
It was very difficult to work with little space between the two spacecrafts, but it is completed.
  CSG Report

"Images/Photos/Movies " was updated.
MPO solar aray panel was folded and stored today. MMO is back inside the clean tent.

Today was the first day of Tour de Guyane . Riders will pass through the town of Kourou and Sinnamary during the tour. Race finale is 26th of August.

  CSG Report

Electrical test was finished. MMO moved and is in front of the clean tent.

  CSG Report

Today, August 15 is "Feast day of the Assumption of Mary," and the dayoff.

  CSG Report

MMO, MPO and MTM is performing combined electrical tests.

MMO, MPO, MTM, MOSIF Sunshield can all be seen in the picture below.

MPO MLI finalization is also ongoing.

  CSG Report

  CSG Report

MMO is once again interconnected with MPO and MTM.

  CSG Report

Today MMO was moved out of the clean tent to prepare for the next testing.

AEOLUS is now integrated to the Vega launcher.

  CSG Report

MMO is in standby inside the clean tent.

Meanwhile in CSG: AEOLUS, the payload of the next Vega launch has finished encapsulation and is heading to the launch pad.

  CSG Report

MMO is in standby inside the clean tent.

Preparation of the MPO solar array is ongoing.

The satellites to be launched the next Ariane 5, VA243, have been arrived at CSG.

  CSG Report

MMO is in standby inside the clean tent.

The MPO solar array is being prepared for integration. The manual deployment was performed today.

  CSG Report

A short break in the combined electrical test to perform Helium loading for MPO.

MMO is back inside the clean tent.

  CSG Report

Combined electrical tests are ongoing in CSG.

Operation procedure has been being tested.

「Images/Photos/Movies 」is updated.

  CSG Report

Combined electrical tests are ongoing in CSG.

  CSG Report

Combined electrical tests are ongoing in CSG.

Images/Photos/Movies is updated.

  CSG report

Combined electrical tests are ongoing in CSG.

The MPO solar array is being prepared for integration. The manual deployment was performed today.

  CSG Report

Combined electrical tests are ongoing in CSG.

Today the spacecraft was commanded from ESOC. Telemetry data was transferred to our Operation room in Japan, where engineers checked the status of MMO.

  CSG Report

Combined electrical tests are ongoing in CSG.

It is the season of turtles along the coast of French Guiana. They arrive around the time of high-tide, lay eggs in the sand then return to the sea. Red lights are used to observe the turtles, since they are sensitive to white light.

The photo shows a leatherback turtle.

  CSG Report

Combined electrical tests are ongoing in CSG.

MMO team members visited the BAF "Final Assembly Building ( Batiment d Ássemblage Final)" today to assess the finalisation activities after the spacecraft integration to the launcher. During the actual operation, operators are required to wear a special anti-flammable suit, helmets and gloves and carry gas masks for protection.

Here is a videovideo by ESA showing the preparation activities along with interview of our Project manager Hajime Hayakawa.

  CSG Report
The target launch date for BepiColombo was announced today.

See the ESA announcement here.

See the JAXA press release here (Japanese).

  CSG Report

The Ariane5 carrying 4 Galileo satellites was launched this morning at 08:25 local time. The road to CSG was closed for safety, therefore the BepiColombo team enjoyed the launch before coming to work.

The MMO team went to a viewpoint on "Monkey Mountain" which is outside of Kourou. Around 100 people gathered on the mountain to see the launch.

There are several viewpoints inside CSG, which requires reservation in advance. Outside of CSG, the beach of Kourou is also a good spot.

There is a museum located at the entrance of CSG, and site tours are offered on weekdays(requires reservation 48 hrs in advance).

  CSG Report

MMO (attached to MOSIF frame), MPO, and MTM is now interconnected with test harnesses for the combined electrical test. MMO is covered with black panels to protect the solar arrays. The covers will be removed before encapsulation.

Preparation for Ariane5 launch is also ongoing at CSG.

  CSG Report

The final testing of the second solar array of MTM was completed last week.

The 15-meter long solar array was first extended for inspection and illumination test before folding. Then it was deployed for the last time on ground. After the final inspections, it was folded again, and a red protection cover is attached. It is now ready for launch.

MTM is the transfer module that carries MPO and MMO to Mercury. It is the first module to be separated upon arrival at Mercury.

Many other images from the launch campaign can be viewed in the ESA BepiColombo image gallery.

Meanwhile, the Ariane5 carrying 4 Galileo satellites was rolled out to the launch pad.

  CSG Report
French Guiana was a penal colony of France during 19th century and until mid-20th century. It was infamous for the harsh conditions and the prisoners had little chance of surviving.

Off the coast of Kourou are the Salut Islands which were also used as prison sites. Devil's island (Ile du Diable) is the most famous, where more then 80,000 political prisoners were sent but many died due to tropical diseases.

The prison system was closed in 1953. CSG was founded in 1964 and is now responsible for the Islands.

  CSG Report
MMO "MIO" is out of the clean tent and set-up for the next test.

  CSG Report
Some pictures were put on the "Images/Photos/Movies"

See also ESA's image gallery

ISAS news 2018.7 has been issued.

ISAS news 2018.7
  CSG Report
We are on schedule!
Professor David Rothery had a talk about Mercury missions in TEDxLondon.

  CSG Report
Today is the world's emoji day.
We have a chance to look at Mercury.
  CSG Report
Today was the first static firing test of P120C. The motor will be used as the first stage for VegaC as well as boosters for Ariane6.
  CSG Report
Big congratulations to France for the world cup title!
Public viewing in Kourou was full of fans cheering for the national team. Cars decorated with the French flags paraded the streets.
  CSG Report
Bastille day celebrations in Kourou! We enjoyed performances by French Military, Police, Fire Brigade, followed by fireworks on the beach.
  CSG Report
Bepi@ESA_Bepi and bepicolmbo@bepicolombo tweet on Twitter!
  CSG Report
JAXA and MMO flags were raised in front of the Payload Preparation Facility S5 building where the BepiColombo team is busily preparing for the launch.
MPO MLI and MTM Solar array panel works are still ongoing. The panels are hung from a dedicated rig inside the cleanroom, deployed, then attached to the spacecraft.
  Training at ESOC
Training sessions are going on at ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany to get ready for the launch and future operations.
  CSG report
Finalisation of MPO Multi-layer Insulation (MLI) is ongoing. The MLI is hand-sewn to fit the spacecraft. Meanwhile, the solar array paddles are being attached to MTM.
  Mating to MOSIF frame
MMO is now attached to the MOSIF frame and is in standby inside the cleantent. Next actvity will be the electrical functional tests with MPO and MTM.
MMO in the clean tent.
  CSG Report
The two Ariane 5 rockets moved at the Spaceport.
  Xe fueling to MTM
The MTM's tanks were loaded with 581 kg of Xe, which is the fuel for the electric propulsion system.
  Final standalone test
The final function test of MMO in standalone configuration is completed. We are moving on to combined tests with MPO.
  Final check of MMO science instruments
The MMO science instruments were checked by their engineers and scientists. It was the final check before the launch.
  New Name for MMO!
MIO is selected as the new name for the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). Thank you for all the submissions!
JAXA Press Release is click here.
  MMO RCS final loading
MMO RCS tank final loading and pressuization is completed. MMO uses Nitrogen gas to control its attitude and spin rate.
  MMO RCS leak test
MMO RCS (Reaction Control System) leak test is completed. The tank is pressurized with Helium gas to check that the system has no leaks.
  Opening of MMO container
 MMO spacecraft is taken out of the container and placed inside the cleanroom. The preparation activities for launch will start soon.
  MMO arrives at Centre Spatial Guyanais!
 MMO Container has arrived at Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guiana, which is the launch site of the Ariane5 rocket.
Please see also ESA's homepage.
  MMO departure from ESTEC
 After 3 years of various testing with the European modules(MPO, MTM, MOSIF), MMO is departing from ESTEC. MMO and MTM will be loaded onto an Antonov, and flying from Schipol Airport to Cayenne Airport, with a stopover in Santa Maria Island.
  MMO Container Closure
 MMO is now placed inside a dedicated container for transportation. The air inside the container is replaced with Nitrogen gas to prevent condensation. An air conditioning unit is attached for temperature control. MMO will be shipped at end of April from ESTEC in The Netherlands to the Ariane5 launch site in French Guiana.
  BepiColombo 17th Science Working Team (SWT) meeting
The 17th BepiColombo SWT Meeting was held in Braunschweig, Germany, on 12 - 16 March 2018.
Details will be reported later.
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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) European Space Agency (ESA) BepiColombo Project (ESA)
BepiColombo, a cooperative mission by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) / Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and European Space Agency (ESA), will explore Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun. ISAS/JAXA is building one of the main spacecraft, the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), and ESA will contribute the other, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO).
[Mercury exploration] JAXA >> ISAS >> [Department of Solar System Sciences, ISAS/JAXA]
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