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The Rosetta Flight Model being prepared for thermal-vacuum tests in the Large Space Simulator in the ESTEC Test Centre in March 2002. The international Rosetta mission was approved in November 1993 by ESA's Science Programme Committee as the Planetary 'Cornerstone' Mission in ESA's long-term programme in space science, 'Horizon 2000'. The mission's main goal is a rendezvous beginning in January 2014 with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, but it will also study two asteroids during close fly-bys en route to the comet. Rosetta will study the nucleus the comet and its environment in great detail for almost two years, the near-nucleus phase starting at a heliocentric distance of about 3.25 AU, from onset of activity through to perihelion, close to 1 AU. Launch is planned for February 2004 on an Ariane-5 from Kourou, French Guiana.