BepiColombo mission to be presented to the media

BepiColombo’s cruise configuration
10 January 2008

ESA PR 3-2008. The European Space Agency and Astrium jointly invite the media to attend a press conference on the occasion of the industrial contract signature of BepiColombo, the first European mission to Mercury. The event will be held at Astrium Friedrichshafen on 18 January 2008.

After a competitive phase started in 2001, ESA has awarded Astrium the prime contract to build BepiColombo. The contract signature ceremony will take place in presence of the Prime Minister of Baden Württemberg (Germany), Dr. Guenther Oettinger, and will mark the kick-off of the industrial development of the spacecraft.

BepiColombo will be launched in 2013. It consists of two spacecraft - an orbiter for planetary investigation, led by ESA, and one for magnetospheric studies, led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The satellite duo will reach Mercury in 2019 after a six-year journey towards the inner Solar System, to make the most extensive and detailed study of Mercury ever attempted.

The press event will feature a thorough presentation of the mission and its objectives, as well as the technical challenges that Astrium will have to address. Such challenges derive from the difficulty of reaching, surviving and operating in the harsh environment of a planet so close to Sun, making of BepiColombo one of the most complex long-term planetary projects undertaken by ESA so far.

Media interested to attend are invited to register by the reply form attached below.

Visit of Prime Minister Guenther Oettinger
and BepiColombo Contract Signature
Event programme
18 January 2008, h 10:30
Astrium Friedrichshafen, Germany
Claude-Dornier-Straße, 88090 Immenstaad
Building 8, Room "Meersburg"

10:30 Check-in
11:00 Welcome and introduction, Uwe Minne, Astrium, Director of Earth Observation and Science, Head of Friedrichshafen Site
11:05 BepiColombo in the context of the ESA Science Programme, Jacques Louet, ESA Head of Science Projects Departments
11:10 BepiColombo's scientific objectives, Johannes Benkhoff, ESA, BepiColombo Project Scientist
11:20 The BepiColombo mission, Jan van Casteren, ESA, BepiColombo Project Manager
11:30 BepiColombo's technical challenges, Rainer Best, Astrium, BepiColombo Project Manager
11:40 Q&A
12:00 Buffet lunch
13:00 Arrival of Prime Minister Guenther Oettinger, welcomed by Evert Dudok, CEO Astrium Satellites, Uwe Minne and Dr. Johannes v. Thadden, Astrium, Head of Political Affairs
13:05 Astrium at Friedrichshafen and its experience and heritage in scientific satellites, Uwe Minne, Head of Friedrichshafen Site
13:15 Astrium in Baden-Württemberg, and the importance of satellite Manufacturing, Evert Dudok, CEO Astrium Satellites
13:25 The ESA Science Programme and Germany’s involvement, David Southwood, ESA Director of Science
13:35 Contract Signature of BepiColombo, D. Southwood, ESA / E. Dudok, Astrium - J. Louet, ESA / U. Minne, Astrium
13:45 Speech of Guenther Oettinger, Prime Minister of Federal State of Baden-Württemberg: “Baden-Württemberg: a high-tech Country”
14:05 Transfer to Satellite Cleanroom
14:10 Visit Satellite Manufacturing
14:30 End of event
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Please return this form to:
Denise Achberger
Media Relations (CM), Astrium
88039 Friedrichshafen, Germany
Fax: 07545 8-5589
Email: E-mail: denise.achberger@astrium.eads.net
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