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JAXA Offers Opportunities to Naming the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter(MMO)
and Send Messages to Mercury

February 20, 2018 (JST)

National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Based on BepiColombo, the joint mission to explore Mercury between European Space Agency (ESA) and JAXA, JAXA is developing the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO).
The objective of the MMO is understanding the Mercury’s environment and magnetosphere. The MMO, partnering the other orbiter built by ESA, is scheduled for launch from ESA’s Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana by the fiscal year 2018*. To make the MMO more familiar, JAXA offers to the public opportunities to nickname it and send messages to carry aboard. Other than messages written by individuals, collection of messages contributed by a group, illustration, audio and video may be accepted. File must be less than one megabyte.

Proposal due date is appropriate and subject to change.


  1. 1. Application Period
    2:00 pm (Japan Standard Time, JST), February 20, 2018 through 10:00 am (JST), April 9, 2018
  2. 2. Application Process
    Go to the MMO project special site ( for the application form.
  3. 3. Selection
    The nickname for the orbiter will be decided by a selection committee after consideration of all suggestions received. Note that the name of other Japanese spacecraft may not be used. Refer to the attached chart.
  4. 4. Application Guide
    Details are available at the MMO project special site.
  5. 5. Announcement date and method
    Selected name will be informed on press release and the JAXA website sometime in April or May 2018.
  6. 6. Prizes for people who suggested the name
    All those who suggested the selected nickname will receive a certificate and a souvenir after the announcement.


Names of Japanese satellites and orbiters

Engineering Test SatelliteGeostationary CommunicationsEarth Observation SatelliteSatellite Observing Earth's ProximalLunar and Planetary ObservationAstronomy Satellite
Ohsumi Sakura Ume Shinsei Suisei Taiyo
Tansei Yuri Himawari Denpa Hiten Hakucho
Kiku Ayame Ajisai Kyokko Hagoromo Hinotori
Sakigake Kakehashi * Momo Jikiken Nozomi Tenma
Jindai Fuji Fuyo Ohzora Hayabusa Ginga
Orizuru Kodama Midori * Akebono Kaguya * Yohkoh *
Myojo Kirari Daichi * Arase Akatsuki Asca
Ryusei Kizuna * Ibuki * Hisaki Halca
Orihime * Michibiki * Shizuku * Suzaku
Tsubasa Kirameki Shikisai * Akari
Reimei Hinode
Tsubame * Hitomi
ISS Spacecraft
Kibo *
Kounotori *

* Names selected from applications made available to public.
    : Spacecraft in operation, including successor with the original name.

BepiColombo and MMO

BepiColombo, an ESA-JAXA joint mission to explore Mercury, comprises of two orbiters - the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the MMO. MPO aims at elucidating the surface and internal composition of Mercury. The MMO mission is observing the planet's magnetic field and magnetosphere.
JAXA is presently working on the development of the MMO. Once injected into its target orbit, the Agency will also control its operation as observation of a magnetic field and magnetosphere is the domain that Japan is renowned for.
ESA controls BepiColombo launch and flight to Mercury and orbital insertions. The development and operation of the MPO, too, is part of the mission performed by ESA. Ariane 5 will launch the tandem satellites. After entering the planet's orbit, detached orbiters are slated for approximately year-long observation mission, which both agencies will cooperate to support.