Colombo, Giuseppe "Bepi" (1920–1984)
Italian mathematician andbground-breaking theorist in orbital mechanics
at the University of Padua. He proposed space
tethers for linking satellites together, was one of the initiators of
the ESA (European Space Agency) Giotto mission
to Halley's Comet, and suggested how to put a spacecraft into an orbit that
would bring it back repeatedly to the planet Mercury.
His calculations were used to determine the course taken by Mariner
10 in 1974–75, which enabled the probe to make three passes of the
innermost planet. Colombo also explained, as an unsuspected resonance, Mercury's
habit of rotating three times for every two revolutions of the Sun. His
name has been given to ESA's own proposed mission to Mercury, BepiColombo.
ENGINEERS AND SPACE SCIENTISTS