During the current restrictions, Monthly Meetings are taking place on Zoom.
In normal times they are held at The Harlington, Fleet: 11.00 - 12.15, with coffee & tea for members in the Function Room from 09.45
Wednesday 19 May: 11.00 AM
On Zoom - the link will be sent to members a few days before the meeting.
Bepicolumbo - Qinetiq and the mission to Mercury - a talk by Peter Randall
The European Space Agency’s mission to Mercury was launched in October 2018 on its seven year journey to the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in our Solar System. When it arrives it will endure temperatures in excess of 350 °C and gather data during its one year nominal mission that, among many other things, may shed light on how planets are formed.
The craft is powered by a solar electric propulsion system (SEPS) developed by a British-led multinational team here at our very own QinetiQ. It is the most powerful and high-performance electric propulsion system ever flown and is a significant space engineering achievement.
Peter Randall is QinetiQ’s Systems Engineer – Electric Propulsion. Do join us to hear from Peter the fascinating details of the mission, its round-about journey to Mercury, what it hopes to discover when it arrives in orbit in late 2025, and mainly about QinetiQ's major role in developing the revolutionary ion propulsion system.
In case you are wondering, the mission is named after Italian Professor Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo from the University of Padua, Italy, who suggested how to use a gravity-assist swing-by of Venus to place NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft in a solar orbit that would allow it to fly by Mercury in 1974-5.
Wednesday 2 June
National u3a Day. Venue, format and programme yet to be decided.
Wednesday 16 June:11.00 AM
Robots - Details to come.
See also Events menu page.