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BepiColombo Status
PaulM
post Mar 4 2008, 06:37 PM
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A story of interest to UK members of UMSF.COM has been posted today on the BBC web site.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7274956.stm

Physicists and astronomers have three weeks to make the case for a number of high-profile projects at risk of being cut from the UK's science portfolio.

The lists of facilities and experiments include spacecraft, telescopes and hardware for particle accelerators.

The scientific worth of each is being assessed as administrators seek to plug an 80m hole in their finances.
...
"High priorities" such as Venus Express and the gravity wave detector GEO 600 are likely to be safe from cuts.
...
An instrument for the Mercury probe Bepi-Columbo also appeared as a lower priority. But a deal signed with the European Space Agency (Esa) meant there was "no credible option for withdrawal".

Can anyone provide me with a link to a more complete version of this story?

I have a personal interest in the ExoMars rover and would like to know whether the UK contribution to this project has been cut?

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vjkane
post Jul 5 2008, 05:06 PM
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BEPICOLOMBO NARROWLY AVOIDS CANCELLATION

By PETER B. de SELDING
Space News Staff Writer

PARIS Europe's BepiColombo mission to Mercury has narrowly escaped what would have been a precedent-setting cancellation.


The satellite's mass has grown to the point that it no longer is capable of being launched by a medium-lift rocket, according to European government officials. The unexpected weight gain led to development delays and also forced a shift in plans that will require the use of a heavy-lift Ariane 5 vehicle.


The combination of the delay and the shift to a more expensive launcher will add 120 million euros ($189 million) to the mission's budget, the European government officials said.


Complete article at: http://www.space.com/spacenews/spacenews_summary.html#BM_5


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peter59
post Jul 6 2008, 06:21 AM
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Interesting quotes:

"A majority of the members of Europe's Science Program Committee (SPC), which oversees the space-science program based on budget guidelines at the European Space Agency (ESA), voted to cancel BepiColombo in June despite the fact that industrial contracts have been signed and considerable money already spent."

"It's certain that, had we known in 2006 what we know now, we never would have agreed to start BepiColombo."

"Southwood said he would reopen contract negotiations with Astrium Satellites with a view to reducing the price."

Why I am not astonished ? I think, it's beginning of end for BepiColombo.



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Mariner9
post Jul 6 2008, 06:44 AM
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Tough to predict. Bepi-Colombo's roots go way back into the mid-90s , and it also has JAXA as an international partner building an entirely separate orbiter from the ESA planetary orbiter. I think one of the things that saved Cassini from cancellation in the early 90s was the Huygens probe being built by ESA. NASA was reluctant to back out of the project with the commitment they had made to ESA.

So it seems that there are many factors influencing this decision.

One of the things not mentioned in the article was the Exo-Mars mission, also slated for a 2013 launch window. I've wondered for a long time if having two big ticket planetary missions with the same schedule would pose a problem on budgets. And like Bepi-Colombo, the Exo-Mars budget has gone up a few times. IIRC the cost estimate on that one started around 600 million Euros, and has gone up around 1 Billion in the last six months.

However, the way ESA gets money is more complex than the NASA model. I get the impression that each project is funded by separate contributions from each contributing partner nation. So it may be that Bepi-Colombo and Exo-Mars will never compete with each other for funds, at least not directly.
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vjkane
post Jul 6 2008, 11:01 PM
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QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Jul 6 2008, 06:44 AM) *
However, the way ESA gets money is more complex than the NASA model. I get the impression that each project is funded by separate contributions from each contributing partner nation. So it may be that Bepi-Colombo and Exo-Mars will never compete with each other for funds, at least not directly.

I suspect that the experience of cost over runs on both ExoMars and Bepi-Colombo will make ESA more cautious in scoping and selecting future planetary missions. Problems once development is underway is fairly common for all space agencies, it seems. If memory serves me correctly though, both of these experienced large cost increases fairly early in the process. Anyone have a better memory than I?


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Paolo
post Nov 28 2010, 07:59 PM
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There is a nice picture of the BepiColombo Magnetospheric Orbiter thermal model undergoing thermal vacuum tests in the latest issue of the ESA bulletin


Attached thumbnail(s)
Attached Image
 


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ZLD
post Nov 29 2010, 02:08 AM
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Is the mission back on then? Last I had heard, it was indefinitely postponed or cut all together (I forget which).
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Paolo
post Nov 29 2010, 06:19 AM
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It has been approved in a modified (and much more expensive) version for launch in 2014 and arrival at Mercury in 2020


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ZLD
post Nov 29 2010, 07:24 AM
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Thats quite fantastic to hear and a surprising turnaround from what I last heard!
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Paolo
post Aug 22 2011, 05:28 PM
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BepiColombo's Mercury orbiter undergoing thermal vacuum tests http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Space_Engineer...EV8RTJRG_0.html


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I'm one of the most durable and fervent advocates of space exploration, but my take is that we could do it robotically at far less cost and far greater quantity and quality of results.

James Van Allen
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djellison
post Aug 22 2011, 08:47 PM
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It's not actually BC that's undergoing thermal vac...that would infer the real spacecraft is built. It's not.

From the article " A highly accurate, full-scale engineering model...."

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Paolo
post Sep 10 2012, 12:12 PM
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anybody has a detailed timeline of BepiColombo (flybys etc.) after the latest delay?
the ESA mission site only has the launch and arrival dates (15 August 2015 and 27 January 2022).
I have made a quick google search, but I have not found anything useful. most of the links date back to when BC was supposed to fly in 2014.


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I'm one of the most durable and fervent advocates of space exploration, but my take is that we could do it robotically at far less cost and far greater quantity and quality of results.

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cndwrld
post Sep 12 2012, 10:17 AM
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The information I have is on this other ESA page here.

Key mission dates

Date Mission event
15 August 2015 Launch
14 August 2016 Earth flyby
25 November 2017 First Venus flyby
18 July 2018 Second Venus flyby
15 February 2019 First Mercury flyby
07 November 2019 Second Mercury flyby
26 January 2021 Third Mercury flyby
08 March 2021 Fourth Mercury flyby
27 January 2022 Arrival at Mercury
27 April 2023 End of nominal mission
27 April 2024 End of extended mission


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Paolo
post Sep 12 2012, 05:01 PM
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QUOTE (cndwrld @ Sep 12 2012, 12:17 PM) *
The information I have is on this other ESA page


thanks! it had definitely escaped me...
I searched on google for pdf papers on the orbit design and couldn't find any


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I'm one of the most durable and fervent advocates of space exploration, but my take is that we could do it robotically at far less cost and far greater quantity and quality of results.

James Van Allen
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Doug M.
post Sep 23 2012, 03:41 PM
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QUOTE (cndwrld @ Sep 12 2012, 11:17 AM) *
15 August 2015 Launch
14 August 2016 Earth flyby
25 November 2017 First Venus flyby
18 July 2018 Second Venus flyby
15 February 2019 First Mercury flyby
07 November 2019 Second Mercury flyby
26 January 2021 Third Mercury flyby
08 March 2021 Fourth Mercury flyby
27 January 2022 Arrival at Mercury
27 April 2023 End of nominal mission
27 April 2024 End of extended mission


Seven! flybys! That has to be a record. MESSENGER only had three -- one each with Mercury, Venus, and Earth.

And that's while using an ion drive. I know the delta-V to climb down to Mercury is really high, but still...

But: googling, I see that the total spacecraft mass is 1350 kg -- 1100 kg for MPO and 250 kg for MMO. That's almost three times the mass of Messenger, a relatively svelte 485 kg. So I guess they found that with the flybys and the ion drive they could deliver a lot more probe.


Doug M.
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