We are at J-1, i.e. the day before the planned launch of the BepiColombo satellite that will be en route to Mercury. The three-satellite-stack is under the fairing of the Ariane 5 launcher, now on its way to the launch pad. The big door of the Final Assembly Building was pulled up around 09:45 this morning. When I arrived at the viewing site at 10:30, strategically placing myself opposite the building,  a crowd was already starting to gather to watch the event. Roll-outs hardly ever take start on the dot so there was plenty of time to socialise and greet members of the BepiColombo team as well as colleagues from the spaceport.

Fancy some BepiColombo merchandise of your own? There’s plenty available at the online ESA Shop

Ariane 5, with the BepiColombo logo visible at the top, ready to carry the mission into space

Charlotte Beskow

Head of the ESA Space Transportation Office in Kourou