Thermal Design of a Surface Lander for a Mission to Mercury 2002-01-2276
BepiColombo is a scientific mission to explore the planet Mercury. The mission is made up of two orbiters and a lander. The BepiColombo mission is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and is their ‘Cornerstone 5’ mission. Astrium is leading one of the two study contracts awarded by ESA, and Astrium UK is responsible for the design of the lander element, including the descent and landing systems. The lander will allow the gathering of scientific data on the characteristics and features of the Hermean landscape for the first time.
The BepiColombo spacecraft will take three years to reach Mercury, and the orbiters will operate for several months. The lander is required to operate for a minimum of seven days.
The thermal environment on the planet surface is very severe due to the proximity to the sun and the orbital properties of Mercury.
This paper will discuss the issues surrounding the thermal design of the BepiColombo lander element.