On April 10, a BepiColombo probe flies near the Earth, which performs a gravitational maneuver to further study Mercury. This is stated on the website of the European Space Agency – the developer of this mission.
BepiColombo satellite launched to Mercury in October 2018. The main goal of this mission was to study this planet, as well as its influence on neighboring space objects.
Since Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, the BepiColombo probe needs a very high speed to overcome the star’s gravity and reach the planet. To do this, the satellite needs to make nine flights of Mercury, Venus and the Earth – gravitational maneuvers in order to gain the necessary speed.
BepiColombo will fly past the Earth on April 10 at a distance of 12.7 thousand km. After that, he will go to Venus, which he will fly around twice, before in August 2021 he will already go to Mercury.
At the same time, the research mission of BepiColombo in the orbit of Mercury will begin only in 2026. Prior to this, the probe will fly around the planet six more times in order to overcome the gravity of the Sun and enter its working orbit.