Launch Bepi Colombo – we are on board!
On October 20th, 2018 at 3:45 AM CEROBEAR’s rolling bearings have been launched into space from Kourou (French Guiana) as part of the “BepiColombo” mission and set off on a seven-year journey to Mercury.
CEROBEAR’s rolling bearings are used in the Solar Array Drive Mechanism of the MPO (Mercury Planetary Orbiter). The long journey places special demands on the rolling bearings: After seven years of standstill, the bearings must function perfectly and withstand high temperature fluctuations in Mercury’s orbit. Hybrid bearings are therefore used in this application, i.e. the rings are made of steel and the balls of Si3N4. The use of Si3N4 balls ensures that there is no cold welding between rings and balls after the start and long journey, even without lubricant.
At the end of 2025 it is time to keep your fingers crossed. Then Mercury is reached and our bearings must function perfectly.
Photo: ESA – S. Corvaja