02 March 2004
After two previous launch attempts had been postponed Rosetta finally set off on its long journey to comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 0717 UT 2 March 2004. Arianespace Flight 158, with its Ariane 5 rocket and modified upper stage, successfully placed Rosetta onto an escape trajectory and out into the solar system.
The solar panels have now been successfully deployed and the spacecraft is receiving power through them.
ESOC takes over control of the mission and begins communicating with the spacecraft.
Successful separation of the Rosetta spacecraft.
Shut down of the EPS stage on schedule at an altitude of around 1200 km and a velocity of around 10 250 ms-1.
Signal acquisition at the Kourou tracking station confirms an altitude of 750 km and a velocity of 10 180 ms-1. Rosetta is looking good for separation in a couple of minutes time.
Ignition of the EPS upper stage at an altitude of around 550 km and a velocity of 7500 ms-1. By the end of the 17 minute engine burn Rosetta will be travelling at over 10 000 ms-1.
Acquisition of signal at the South Point Tracking Station Hawaii.
Acquisition of signal at the Dongara tracking station in Australia.
Ariane 5 has moved into a ballistic phase. The main cryogenic stage having burnt all its fuel has been jettisoned. Rosetta and the upper stage of Ariane 5 have now gone into orbit around the Earth starting from an altitude of 250 km. During the orbit the combined upper stage and spacecraft will reach a peak altitude of 4000 km before coming back closer to the Earth. At around 0910 UT the upper stage will fire accelerating the Rosetta spacecraft to escape velocity and out into the Solar System.
Acquistion by tracking station at Natal
Booster stages have been successfully jettisoned
Ariane 5 Flight 158 powers off the launch pad and Rosetta begins her journey to 67/P Churyumov-Gerisamenko
"All systems go" and start of the synchronised sequence.
Checks of the connections between launcher and telemetry, tracking and command systems have just taken place.
2 March 0357 UT
Chilldown of Vulcain main stage engine
2 March 0227 UT
Start of filling of main cryogenic stage with liquid oxygen and hydrogen.
1 March 2347 UT
Check of electrical systems
1 March 1947 UT
Start of final countdown