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Rosetta ready to go!
News story originally written on February 26, 2004

The Rosetta spacecraft is all ready to blast off to start its ten-year journey to Comet Chruyumov-Gerasimenko. The spacecraft is mounted atop the Ariane 5 rocket that will send it into space and waiting on the launch pad. High winds at the European Space Agency's (ESA) launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, prevented Rosetta's launch on the night of its first opportunity on February 26, 2004. There are a series of launch opportunities up through March 17th. Rosetta must launch at a precise time of day to send it on course for its rendezvous with the comet. ESA officials say they will try to launch the spacecraft again tonight, weather permitting.

Rosetta was originally scheduled to be launched in January 2003. The launch had to be delayed more than a year because of uncertainties about the safety of the Ariane launch vehicle.

Rosetta is a two-part spacecraft. One section will orbit the comet; the other will land on the surface of the comet's nucleus.

If you want to learn more about comets, check out our interactive comet animation.

Last modified February 25, 2004 by Randy Russell.

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