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
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
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,
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
You might also be interested in:
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was discovered in 1969 by Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko. The comet orbits the Sun once every 6.57 years. Its orbit brings it closer to the Sun than Mars at the...more
NASA’s rover, named Spirit, has successfully landed and will soon be scouting the surface of Mars for interesting geology! Scientists are interested to know whether the depression where Spirit landed...more
On January 16, 2004, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced the cancellation of the final scheduled servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The review board studying the Shuttle Columbia...more
The Cassini spacecraft, en route to Saturn, will zoom past Saturn's odd moon Phoebe on June 11, 2004. Cassini will pass within 2,000 km (1,243 miles) of the moon's surface and should send back images with...more
NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which is in orbit around Saturn, released the Huygens probe and sent it on its way to Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The probe, pushed away from the Cassini "mothership"...more
The robotic Cassini spacecraft flew by Saturn's moon Titan on October 26, 2004. Titan is Saturn's largest moon, and has the thickest atmosphere of any moon in our Solar System. Cassini captured what are...more
The Cassini spacecraft will arrive at Saturn on June 30, 2004. Cassini's engine will make a critical 96-minute burn starting at 7:36 p.m. Pacific Time (10:36 p.m. EDT) on June 30. The burn will slow Cassini...more