Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo spacecraft are expected to operate a double Venus flyby 33 hours apart on August 9 and 10, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Monday
PARIS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 02nd August, 2021) Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo spacecraft are expected to operate a double Venus flyby 33 hours apart on August 9 and 10, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Monday.
"The two spacecraft need the gravitational swingby to help them lose a little orbital energy in order to reach their destinations towards the centre of the Solar System. The double flyby also offers an unprecedented opportunity to study the Venus environment from different locations at same time and, moreover, in locations that are not typically visited by a dedicated planetary orbiter," the ESA said in a statement.
Solar Orbiter � a joint mission of the ESA and NASA, will be the first one to fly by Venus with the closest approach of 7,995 kilometers (4,967 miles) at 04:42 GMT on August 9. BepiColomb, a joint mission with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will pass by Venus the next day at 13:48 GMT at an altitude of 550 kilometers.
"It is not possible to take high-resolution imagery of Venus with the science cameras onboard either mission - Solar Orbiter must remain facing the Sun, and the main camera onboard BepiColombo is shielded by the transfer module that will deliver the two planetary orbiters to Mercury," the statement read.
However, two of BepiColombo's three monitoring cameras will be taking photos when the spacecraft approaches the planet.
The first images will be available on August 10.