On April 10, JAXA’s MIO Mercury orbiter onboard the BepiColombo spacecraft successfully made Earth swing-by, and passed by Earth 12700km over the South Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft decelerated 5km/s with this swing-by, and is scheduled to have swing-bys twice at Venus and six times at Mercury (the highest number of swing-bys by spacecraft ever). BepiColombo is expected to arrive at Mercury in December 2025.

The BepiColombo mission is a joint endeavour between ESA and JAXA to explore the planet Mercury. Each space agency designed an orbiter which stack together with the European-built transfer module that provides the propulsion through interplanetary space.

Credit: JAXA, ESA
Credit: JAXA, ESA
Credit: JAXA, ESA

Reference: BepiColombo探査機、地球スイングバイを実施 ~最初で最後の地球接近、みおをみおくろう~
See earthview photo gallery: LiVEARTH