Optical observations of the BepiColombo spacecraft as a proxy for a potential threatening asteroid

A Micheli, Marco; Koschny, Detlef; Conversi, Luca; Budnik, Frank; Gray, Bill; Santana-Ros, Toni; Reszelewski, Rafał; Żołnowski, Michał; Gȩdek, Marcin; Gendre, Bruce; Coward, David; Molotov, Igor E.; Rumyantsev, Vasilij; Liakos, Alexios; Schmalz, Sergei

Acta Astronautica, vol. 184, pp. 251–258, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.04.022.
July 2021

BepiColombo flyby image


We present the results of our ground-based astrometric observation campaign of BepiColombo during its Earth fly-by on 2020 April 10. The observational circumstances induced by the fly-by geometry made this event an excellent proxy for a close fly-by or an imminent impact of a natural body with a diameter of a few meters, with the added benefit of having a ground-truth orbit (from radio tracking) to compare with our purely optical orbit determination.

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