Ariane 5 ECA • BepiColombo

Joint mission of ESA and JAXA - to reach Mercury with space probe! BepiColombo will fly to Mercury for 6.5 years (MTM - Mercury Transfer Module manufactured by ESA - will be providing propulsion for probe), deploy orbiter (MPO - Mercury Planetary Orbiter, which will be manufactured by JAXA and stay on Mercury orbit) which will perform series of measurements of Mercury atmosphere, magnetic field, topography, structure and genesis of Mercury. Probe will weight around 4100 kg, will be equipped in deployable solar array and combined propulsion - chemical for leaving Earth orbit and flying near Moon and electric thruster, solar powered, for reducing speed (caused by gravitation of the Sun) and entering Mercury orbit.  Probe will spend on orbit of Mercury 12 months of its predicted operational life. Due the extended weight of the probe, ESA decided to launch probe on atop of Ariane 5 ECA. Rocket is able to lift up to 9600 kg of payload due the larger than in Ariane 5 tanks of the boosters, using Vulcain-2 engine in the first stage (also with extended tanks comparing to Ariane 5) and adopted second stage from Ariane 4.