Rosetta team plans campaign for comet encounter
2 July 1999More than 100 scientists and engineers from all over Europe and the UnitedStates came together at the Royal Society in London 1-2 July to shareprogress reports on the Rosetta mission to Comet Wirtanen.The overall picture presented by the project management team and thePrincipal Scientific Investigators (PIs) was that the mission is now wellon the way towards meeting its strict launch deadline of January 2003.
The PIs reported that structural and thermal (STM) models of the science instruments on the orbiter and lander are now being built and tested at the various institutes. Some of these are ready to be delivered to Alenia in Turin for integration into the STM model of the spacecraft. Intriguing new ground-based observations of the mission's comet and asteroid targets were also presented.
"We are satisfied with the progress so far," commented ESA Project Scientist Gerhard Schwehm. "Most of the instruments have passed their environmental tests and are proceeding on time."
The 4th Rosetta Science Working Team Meeting was highlighted by two special events. The Rosetta team were able to see for the first time what their spacecraft will eventually look like 'in the flesh' when a high fidelity 1:4 scale model of the spacecraft was unveiled at a press briefing by ESA Science Director, Professor Roger Bonnet.
Then, on the evening of 1 July, the SWT members attended a reception at the British Museum, where they were able to see the Rosetta Stone - after which the ESA spacecraft is named - before it was moved to a new location in the Museum's 'Cracking Codes' Exhibition. A 1:15 scale model of the Rosetta spacecraft will also be on display for the six month duration of this exciting event. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to visit the exhibition, which opens to the public on 10 July.