Rosetta lift-off
Science & Exploration

14 May

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science

2003: On 14 May 2003, ESA's comet-chasing Rosetta mission was given a new destination, Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, at a meeting of ESA's Science Programme Committee.

The rendezvous with the new target comet would now be expected in November 2014. The choice of a new comet destination required intensive efforts, including observations by telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the ESO Very Large Telescope. The cost of the Rosetta launch delay was estimated at 70 million Euros.

The mission had been due to launch in February 2003 with a destination of Comet Wirtanen. After the failure of an Ariane-5 rocket in December 2002, ESA decided to delay the launch.

Rosetta was successfully launched on 2 March 2004 from Kourou, French Guiana.


1973: On 14 May 1973, the United States launched 'Skylab One,' its first manned space station.

During the following nine months, three successive crews of astronauts manned the orbiting laboratory. It was the largest payload launched into space. It fell back into and burned up in Earth's atmosphere in July 1979.

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