ESA Science Media Day: Rosetta and Integral getting ready for launch

Integral will be launched in October this year
7 June 2002

ESA PR 42-2002. Two contrasting space missions are in the final stages of preparation at ESA's Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. They are the Rosetta mission to rendezvous with Comet Wirtanen and study the origins of our solar system and the Integral spacecraft to study the most violent phenomena in the Universe. Both spacecraft are nearing their launch dates.

Media representatives are invited to ESTEC on Tuesday 18 June to learn about these two missions. Professor David Southwood, ESA Director of Science, ESA project managers and project scientists, together with industry representatives, will be giving presentations and be on hand for interviews. Visits to the spacecraft in their test environment will also be included.

Representatives of the media wishing to attend this media day at ESA/ESTEC on 18 June are kindly requested to complete the accreditation form and fax it to:

Heidi Graf, Head of Corporate Communication Office
ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Tel. +31(0) 71.565.3006 - Fax. +31(0)71.565.5728)

Note for editors

Rosetta approaches Comet Wirtanen
Artist's view of Rosetta approaching Comet Wirtanen

The mission goal for the Rosetta spacecraft is a rendezvous with Comet Wirtanen in 2011. Rosetta will be launched in January 2003 by an Ariane-5 from Kourou, French Guiana. On its eight-year journey to the comet, the spacecraft will pass close to two asteroids, before studying the nucleus of Comet Wirtanen and its environment in great detail for a period of nearly two years (2011-2013).

The spacecraft will also carry a lander to the nucleus and deploy it on the comet's surface. The lander science will focus on in situ study of the composition and structure of the nucleus material. The mission will make an unparalleled study of cometary material and reveal much about how the solar system formed.

Integral will have the task of tracking gamma radiation across the entire sky. ESA's International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory, Integral, will gather gamma rays, the most energetic radiation that comes from space. The spacecraft is scheduled for launch on 17 October this year, from Baikonur, on board a Russian Proton launcher and will help solve some of the biggest mysteries in astronomy.

Integral will be the most sensitive gamma-ray observatory ever launched. It will detect radiation from the most violent events far away and yet at the same time give evidence of the processes that made the Universe habitable.

For further information, please contact:

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

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