Rosetta's alarm clock rang this morning ...

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
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René Schuster
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Rosetta's alarm clock rang this morning ...
6 months ago

... after hibernation since June 2011.

An interesting "space archaeology" project of ESA, the European Space Agency.

"Rosetta is a robotic spacecraft built and launched by the European Space Agency to perform a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It is part of the ESA Horizon 2000 cornerstone missions and is the first mission designed to both orbit and land on a comet. Rosetta was launched in March 2004 on an Ariane 5 rocket and will reach the comet in August 2014."

"Since its launch from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou on 2 March 2004, Rosetta has travelled to a distance of some 800 million kilometres from the Sun and close to the orbit of Jupiter, passing by Earth three times and Mars once, and flying past two asteroids. It is now closing in on its destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, as it moves farther into the inner Solar System."

"The spacecraft’s internal alarm clock was set for 10:00 GMT (11:00 CET) on 20 January, and the first signal from the spacecraft is expected no earlier than 17:30 GMT (18.30 CET)."

"In May 2014, the Rosetta craft will enter a slow orbit around the comet and gradually slow down in preparation for releasing a lander that will make contact with the comet itself. The lander, named "Philae", will approach Churyumov–Gerasimenko at relative speed around 1 m/s and on contact with the surface, two harpoons will be fired into the comet to prevent the lander from bouncing off. Additional drills are used to further secure the lander on the comet."

"Once attached to the comet, expected to take place in November 2014, the lander will begin its science mission: Characterisation of the nucleus, Determination of the chemical compounds present, including enantiomers, Study of comet activities and developments over time."

"Since launch, the Rosetta mission has been controlled from a single control centre, the Rosetta Mission Operations Centre (MOC) at ESOC, Darmstadt. The Philae lander control will be coordinated through the Lander Control Center at the German Aerospace Research Centre (DLR), Cologne, Germany, and the scientific control centre of CNES, France's space agency, in Toulouse."

More here:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Rosetta_operations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_%28spacecraft%29

RS

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