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Lander Control Center (LCC)

Philae lander shortly before hibernation

15. November 2014

Update – the Philae lander entered sleep mode at 01:36 CET on 15 November 2014. The Philae lander performed about 56 hours of continuous scientific measurements on the surface of Comet 67P, but by 01:15 CET on 15 November the energy state of the lander became so low that the engineers assumed that Philae would go into sleep mode during the night.

Lander Control Center

Philae, the survivalist

14. November 2014

Not only was it the first ever landing on a comet – it was also the second and third. Since 18:32 CET on 12 November 2014, the Philae lander has been on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, performing experiments and returning data.

Willkommen auf Komet 67P!

Welcome to a comet

13. November 2014

Rosetta's lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm.

Visit to Comet 67P – Philae has landed

12. November 2014

On 12 November 2014, the Philae lander touched down on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is the first time a man-made device has landed on a comet and collected data directly from the surface.

Interview with Svetlana Gerasimenko – 'Beginner's luck'

11. November 2014

In 1969, Svetlana Gerasimenko and Klim Churyumov discovered the comet that the Philae lander will descend to on 12 November 2014.

Ankunft in Köln

Welcome back Alexander! – German ESA astronaut back on Earth

10. November 2014

German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is back on Earth after spending five and a half months in space. The 38-year-old geophysicist and flight engineer landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan roughly 100 kilometres from the city of Arkalyk at 04:58 CET (09:58 local time) on 10 November 2014 after a three and a half hour return journey on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

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A challenge – the first landing on a comet

7. November 2014

The Philae lander on board the Rosetta spacecraft has been en route to its destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, since 2 March 2004. On 12 November 2014, it will be released from its mother craft at an altitude of 22.5 kilometres above the comet and – if everything goes according to plan – will touch down on the surface of the comet about seven hours later.

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Philae landing site J is now named 'Agilkia'

4. November 2014

Egyptian history has been explored, new words invented and appropriate comparisons sought for; a total of about 8300 suggestions for Philae’s landing site on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were received at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the French Space Agency (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales; CNES) the Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana; ASI) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Fifteen years of science in a parabolic flight aircraft – Airbus A300 ZERO-G goes into retirement

31. October 2014

The Airbus A300 ZERO-G has completed 5200 flights, 4200 flying hours and 13,180 parabolas in the service of science and microgravity research. Now, the parabolic flight aircraft, operated by French company Novespace, is bowing out into well-earned retirement following the 25th research campaign for DLR.

TanDEM-X – Start of the Science Phase of the mission

10. October 2014

The radar satellite TerraSAR-X has been orbiting the Earth since June 2007; in June 2010 its twin, TanDEM-X, followed it into space. For almost four years, the two satellites have been operated in a close flight formation by DLR.

Timetable for comet landing on 12 November 2014 – Philae’s descent onto 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

26. September 2014

In mid September, the site where the Philae lander will touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was selected – landing site 'J'. Now, there is a detailed timetable for the descent of Philae. The lander will undock from the Rosetta spacecraft at 09:35 CET on 12 November 2014 at a distance of approximately 22.5 kilometres from the centre of the comet and land on the surface about seven hours later.

Radar remote sensing – research for agriculture and climate

19. September 2014

The 2014 harvest season is coming to an end, and throughout Germany the signs are of good yields for wheat, corn and similar crops. But the differences are large depending on the location. Hence, for optimum cultivation, it is important to be constantly aware of the condition of the soil and the crops. Radar images are particularly suitable for providing large-scale observations – using an aircraft or a satellite.

Lander Philae: Sonniger Landeplatz auf dem Kometenkopf

Philae lander – sunny landing area on the comet 'head'

15. September 2014

When the Philae lander touches down on 11 November 2014, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will have a landing site waiting for it with a varied but not too rugged landscape offering good solar illumination and hardly any steep slopes. In a two-day selection process, the lander team under the leadership of DLR selected landing site 'J' from among five possible candidates.

Lucie Poulet

Return from a virtual Mars mission

10. September 2014

Lucie Poulet, from DLR, spent four months living 'on Mars', donning a spacesuit to explore the Red Planet and cultivating vegetables inside the domed Mars station. To do all this, she did not have to move away from her home planet, Earth.

Bubble-free pumping of liquids in space

10. September 2014

Pumping fuel with no bubbles is no problem at the filling station around the corner, but it certainly is in the microgravity environment of space. The fourth and final series of the Capillary Channel Flow (CCF) experiments on the International Space Station (ISS), which began on 5 August 2014, has just come to an end.

A volcano comes to life – satellite picture of Bardarbunga on Iceland

10. September 2014

Bardarbunga, (Bárðarbunga) in Iceland, one of the largest volcanoes in Europe and located beneath the biggest glacier in Europe, became active again in mid-August. For several years now, DLR researchers have been keeping a close eye on Bardarbunga and the system of volcanoes associated with it – an enormous network of subterranean magma channels, vents and craters.

AISat

AISat – over 52,000 ship signals received from around the world

4. September 2014

The first things the AISat satellite caught sight of were the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula and the Bering Sea – but at that time only one non-directional rod antenna was in use on board the satellite. Within eight minutes, the receiver picked up Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from 45 ships.

Sentinel-1 – Earth's topography as a coloured pattern

26. August 2014

The radar system on board the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-1A satellite has been imaging Earth's surface in 250-kilometre swathes since April 2014. Now, scientists at DLR, working under a contract from ESA, have created the first interferogram from this data – showing the topography of Earth as a coloured pattern.

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Spoilt for choice – five candidate landing sites on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

25. August 2014

Never before did a mission team have to select a landing site on a comet – the Philae lander will be the first spacecraft ever to land on a comet and conduct in situ measurements. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft and the Philae lander began their journey to their final destination – comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – 10 years ago.

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The search for the 'perfect' landing site

21. August 2014

When the Philae lander reaches its landing site on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, it needs to be at a level yet scientifically interesting location, with enough sunlight and the right conditions to ensure a long working life. However, the rugged, unusually shaped comet is not making the choice easy for the lander team.

 
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