On 6 August, after a decade-long journey through space, ESA’s Rosetta will become the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet. Members of the media are invited to join ESA at its European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, to mark this momentous occasion.
Since its launch from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 2 March 2004, Rosetta has travelled more than six billion kilometres, passing by Earth three times and Mars once, and flying past two asteroids.
For the most distant part of the journey, when it travelled out to the orbit of Jupiter, Rosetta was put into deep-space hibernation for 31 months, waking up on 20 January 2014 for the final leg of its epic journey to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
Now, with less than 10 000 km to go, Rosetta is preparing to arrive at its destination.
After rendezvous on 6 August, Rosetta will accompany the comet around the Sun and as it moves back out towards the orbit of Jupiter. The lander, Philae, will be delivered to the comet’s surface in November 2014.
The media are invited to join ESA’s science and mission control experts and partners on Wednesday 6 August, from 09:30 CEST, at ESA’s Operations Centre for the day-long event celebrating the arrival and presenting the latest, high-resolution images of the comet’s nucleus.
(Subject to change)
09:30 Doors open at ESOC H-building (1st floor)
10:00 Welcome, by Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Mission Operations and Head of the European Space Operations Centre, ESOC
10:05–10:45 Addresses by:
– ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain
– Parliamentary State Secretary Brigitte Zypries, Air and Space Coordinator for the German Federal Government (BMWE)
– Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR German Aerospace Center
– Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of the French space agency, CNES
– Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian space agency, ASI (TBC)
– Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration
10:45–11:25 First scientific findings and images from Rosetta’s approach:
– Matt Taylor, ESA Rosetta mission scientist
– Holger Sierks, MPS Göttingen, Germany (PI, OSIRIS instrument)
– Samuel Gulkis, NASA JPL, Pasadena, USA (PI, MIRO instrument)
– Fabrizio Capaccioni, INAF-IAPS, Rome, Italy (PI, VIRTIS instrument)
11:25–12:00 Mission operations and expected arrival at the comet
– Paolo Ferri, Head of Mission Operations Dept., ESA, Darmstadt
– Andrea Accomazzo, ESA Rosetta Flight Director
– Sylvain Lodiot, ESA Rosetta Spacecraft Operations Manager
– Frank Budnik, ESA Rosetta Flight Dynamics expert
13:00 Press briefing at the new Media Centre, ESOC H building, (Ground floor)
– Moderated interactive session with Rosetta scientists and mission experts to set the scene for upcoming science operations and preparations for the landing
– Presentation of the latest high-resolution image of the comet
14:30 Q & A for media representatives
15:00 End of event, Media Centre closes
Please register by 1 August at:
Directions to ESOC: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/ESOC/Getting_to_ESOC
ESA TV productions are made available via: http://television.esa.int
Comet rendezvous on social media
Join the conversation on Twitter using #RosettaAreWeThereYet, and our ESA spacecraft Twitter account @ESA_Rosetta will tell you how much further it is to the comet. Of course, @ESA_Rosetta will also announce when arrival has been confirmed on 6 August.
Members of the public are also invited to join in the celebrations by taking part in the “Rosetta, are we there yet?” photo contest for the chance to win a VIP trip to ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt for the first-ever landing on a comet, in November 2014.
The competition is open now and will accept entries until 07:00 GMT (09:00 CEST) on 6 August. The voting period will begin once Rosetta’s arrival at the comet is confirmed. Full details of the competition: esa.int/RosettaAreWeThereYet
For further information:
ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99
ESA Science Programme Communications
Tel : +31 71 565 6799
ESA Corporate Communications Office
Tel: +49 6151 902516