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ESA Science @esascience
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Greetings from @ESA's operations centre in Germany, where we're following the launch of #BepiColombo together with mission experts. The spacecraft are on the launch pad at Europe's #Spaceport in Kourou & in just over 1 hour will blast off into space. Destination: planet #Mercury
#BepiColombo is a collaboration between @ESA and @JAXA_en to explore the innermost planet in our Solar System. For a primer on #Mercury and the mission, here's a useful thread 👇
And for a unique "first-person" account, follow the three spacecraft accounts: @ESA_Bepi, @JAXA_MMO & @ESA_MTM
NOW! Join us for #live coverage of the #BepiColombo launch, from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff with an #Ariane5 rocket is set for 01:45 GMT (03:45 CEST)

Meanwhile, at @ESA's operations centre, #BepiColombo deputy project scientist, Joe Zender, @ESA research fellow Joana Oliveira and #INAF researcher Roberto Peron are discussing aspects of @ESA_Bepi #science with #media representatives
Why go to #Mercury? The question we’re all interested is actually about Earth and life in general: how did it start? To address this question, we have to understand the formation & evolution of our Solar System, so we send spacecraft to explore planets & investigate #BepiColombo
"We have a problem with #Mercury..." because it’s falling out of our overall understanding of the Solar System. We don't understand how such a planet could have formed and evolved, so we not only need to send outstanding instruments there: we send a full laboratory #BepiColombo
Now Prof Ayako Matsuoka from @JAXA_en and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan, explains the details about @JAXA_MMO #science and how it will work together with @ESA_Bepi to study another of #Mercury's mysteries: its magnetic field
Fifteen minutes to liftoff! Then #BepiColombo will start its 7-year journey to #Mercury, using solar-electric propulsion + a total of 9 flybys before reaching the planet in late 2025, as explained by Amedeo Rocchi from @esaoperations flight dynamics 👍
Liftoff! #BepiColombo
Relive the moments of #BepiColombo liftoff while we wait for acquisition of signal...
We know from telemetry that the #BepiColombo solar arrays have been deployed, but stay tuned for a #SpaceSelfie later today by @ESA_MTM 📷
@ESA_MTM Following this morning's launch 🚀🛰️ our mission teams are still busy with many #BepiColombo activities, so keep following @esaoperations @ESA_Bepi @ESA_MTM @JAXA_MMO for updates over the weekend
Thanks to all of you for joining this evening / night / morning to follow the launch of our #BepiColombo mission to #Mercury 👋
#ICYMI Watch the full replay
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