ESA's Rosetta comet chaser ready for lift-off

Rosetta: ESA's comet chaser
Comet chaser Rosetta will be launched on 26 February
17 February 2004

ESA PR 11-2004
Follow the Rosetta launch from an ESA or Arianespace establishment
On 26 February at 04:36 a.m. Kourou time (07:36 a.m. GMT - 08:36 a.m. CET), Rosetta is scheduled to be launched on board an Ariane-5 launcher from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Originally timed to begin about a year ago, Rosetta's journey had to be postponed. This delay meant that the original mission's target, Comet Wirtanen, could no longer be reached. Instead, a new target has been selected, Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which Rosetta will encounter in 2014 after a "billiard ball" journey through the Solar System lasting more than ten years. This will be the first mission to orbit and land on a comet.

Media representatives in Europe can follow the launch of Rosetta and initial orbital operations at ESA/Darmstadt (ESOC) in Germany - which will be acting as the main European press centre - ESA/Noordwijk (ESTEC) in the Netherlands or ESA/Frascati (ESRIN) in Italy. At each site ESA specialists will be available for interviews. Also Arianespace at Evry will cater for media.

Media representatives wishing to attend are asked to complete the attached reply form and fax it to the Communication Office at the establishment of their choice.

The ESA TV Service will provide live televised coverage of the launch and initial orbital operations with English commentary, between 05:30 and 10:30 GMT:

Satellite :ASTRA 2 C at 19 degrees East
Transponder 57, horizontal, MPEG-2, MCPC
Frequency 10832 MHz, Symbol Rate 22000 MS/sec, FEC+5/6
Service Name: ESA

Details of the transmission schedule and the various pre-launch Video News Releases can be found on http://television.esa.int.

For further information on Rosetta see http://www.esa.int/rosetta
For more on ESA Science missions see http://www.esa.int/science

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Division
Tel: +33(0)1.53.69.7155
Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690

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