BepiColombo engineering model
On 6 March 2018, the BepiColombo engineering model was delivered by the manufacturer to ESA's ESOC mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

The model comprises a three-dimensional mock-up of the European scientific module, the Mercury Planetary orbiter (MPO) and a 'flatsat' model of the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) together with their respective test and support hardward. The Japanese scientific module, the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), is not currently included in the model at ESOC.

Overall, the engineering model is an electrically faithful replication of the most critical elements of the spacecraft's main platform and flight control systems, such as its computers, mass memory and power systems. The models at ESOC provide highly representative models of the sensors and actuators of the attitude and orbit control system and can provide (through software) a simulation of the space environment, allowing teams to simulate many aspects of the mission.

Flight controllers will use the EM throughout the life of the mission to test and validate software and procedures on ground prior to upload to the real spacecraft, as well as to train for actual flight scenarios, such as use of the electric propulsion system, conducting planetary swingbys and performing module separations.

The EM works together with the (software only) spacecraft simulator developed by teams at ESOC for training and validation purposes. The simulator is the tool of choice to train for realistic space-to-ground communication in deep space and for simulating contingencies, and the EM is instrumental for exercising nominal mission scenarios and for troubleshooting harware anomalies.

More information on the BepiColombo misison via:

www.esa.int/bepicolombo

www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/BepiColombo_operations
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