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Rosetta timeline: countdown to comet arrival

05/08/2014 53289 views 193 likes
ESA / Enabling & Support / Operations

A timeline of the most crucial steps leading to Rosetta’s arrival at its target comet on Wednesday. Mission operations and science teams at ESA and scientists from multiple countries will be following progress closely.

After completing a complex series of nine orbital manoeuvres since the end of hibernation on 20 January, Rosetta is finally in position to rendezvous with the comet.

Orbit entry will take place on 6 August, and will be triggered by a small but crucial thruster firing lasting just 6 min 26 sec, starting at 09:00 GMT (11:00 CEST). The commands were uploaded during the night of 4 August.

This burn will tip Rosetta into the first leg of a series of three-legged triangular paths about the comet. The legs will be about 100 km long and it will take Rosetta between three and four days to complete each one.

Orbit entry timeline

5 August

08:04/10:04BoT New Norcia tracking stationESA 35 m station, Australia
19:41/21:41EoT New Norcia tracking station 
20:00/22:00BoT DSS-63 tracking stationNASA 70 m station Madrid


6 August

GMT/CEST Event Details
00:05/02:05 EoT DSS-63  
00:10/02:10 BoT Malargüe tracking station ESA 35 m station, Argentina
02:41/04:41 EoT Malargüe  
02:50/04:50 BoT DSS-15 NASA 34 m station, Goldstone, USA
07:35/09:35 EoT DSS-15   
08:00/10:00 BoT New Norcia tracking station
AoS telemetry data flow (see below)
  Rosetta slews into position for thruster burn
09:00:01/11:00:01 Start: Comet Approach Trajectory – insertion thruster burn Start of orbit entry manoeuvre. Must wait 1-way light time for confirmation on ground
09:06:27/11:06:27 End: thruster burn Rosetta now on first leg of cometary orbit
  Rosetta slews back to comet-pointing mode 
09:22:30/11:22:30 Start of thruster burn confirmed on ground  
09:28:56/11:28:56 End of thruster burn confirmed on ground   
19:43/21:43 EoT New Norcia  
19:48/21:48 BoT Malargüe tracking station  


  • All times subject to change
  • BoT: Beginning of track
  • EoT: End of track
  • AoS: Acquisition of signal
  • LoS: Loss of signal
  • One-way signal time 6 August: 22 min 29 sec
  • Thruster burn set to run 6 min 26 sec

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