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Rosetta: ESA's Comet Chaser Already Making its Mark

Rosetta: ESA's Comet Chaser Already Making its Mark

Publication date: 16 August 2005

Authors: Ferri, P. et al.

Journal: ESA Bulletin
Volume: 123
Page: 62-66
Year: 2005

Copyright: ESA

Rosetta, the first planetary cornerstone mission of the ESA Scientific Programme, was launched on 2 March 2004 on its ten year journey to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In summer 2014, Rosetta will go into orbit around the comet's nucleus, approaching to within a few kilometres of its surface, will deliver a Lander called 'Philae' onto its surface to make in-situ measurements, and will then accompany the comet on its onward journey for about 1.5 years. The launch and the first 1.5 years of flight operations have been very smooth, with the spacecraft, its payload and the ground segment performing almost perfectly, with no major anomalies and all parameters well within specification. All planned mission activities have gone according to schedule, and additional 'bonus' scientific and technological operations were even added to the intense operations schedule of the first few months. Among the mission events to date were the observations of the NASA Deep Impact probe's encounter in July 2005 with comet 9P/Tempel-1, from a 'privileged' position in space just 80 million kilometres away.

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