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Rosetta - mission to study a comet in detail

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta comet chaser is one of the most fascinating projects in space science and exploration. The mission involves flying an orbiter to the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, accompanying the comet on its orbit and learning more about it in the process. The highlight will be when the orbiter deploys the DLR lander Philae on the surface of the comet.

Philae was developed and built by an international consortium led by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The aim of this mission is to conduct a thorough investigation of the comet, which will provide insight into the origins of the Solar System.



Launch date: 2 March 2004, 08:17 CET
Launch site: Kourou, French Guiana
Launcher: Ariane 5 G
Mission duration: 12 years in total, until December 2015 
Mission Control Centre: European Space Operations Center (ESOC), Darmstadt
Philae Lander Control Centre: DLR Microgravity User Support Center, Cologne
Ground stations: Perth,  Australia and Kourou, French Guiana
Launch mass: 3000 kilograms
Fuel: 1670 kilograms
Science payload: 165 kilograms


Orbiter dimensions: 2.8 x 2.1 x 2.0 metres
Solar panel dimensions: Two panels, each 14 metres long; total surface area of 64 square metres
Power via solar panels: 850 W at 3.4 AU*, 395 W at 5.25 AU*
Communications antenna: Two-axis steerable high-gain antenna, 2.2 metres in diameter


Weight: 100 kilograms 
Data transmission: 16 kilobytes per second via the orbiter 
Energy supply: Solar generator, 4 Watts, primary (for the first 60 hours after the landing on the comet) and secondary (rechargeable) batteries
* AU='Astronomical Units'


Launch: March 2004
First Earth flyby: March 2005
Mars flyby: March 2007
Second Earth flyby: November 2007
Third Earth flyby: November 2009
Comet rendezvous: May 2014
Global mapping of the comet: August 2014
Landing on the comet: November 2014
Orbital flight: August 2015
End of mission: December 2015




Last update: 30/06/2010 11:43:19
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