Rosetta is ready for a historic landing on a comet

Rosetta is ready for a historic landing on a comet

On Friday (October 31), the European Mission Rosetta will carry out the second and last deterministic maneuver, which will put the satellite into a planned landing orbit.

Located at a distance of 30 kilometers (19 miles) from comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Rosetta will remain in a stable position until November 12, when it sends a small fillet landing module to the comet's surface.

According to the Rosetta blog, the corrective engine will change the probe speed by 9, 3 centimeters per second, shifting it a considerable distance from the comet's core. The Rosetta Flight Dynamics team confirmed that the mission was ready to reset the Fillet module within 10 days.

The team of the European Space Flight Control Center (eng. European Space Operations Center, ESOC) will make some improvements related to a minor change in the orbit.

Rosetta was in a closer orbit, rotating at a distance of about 10 km (6 miles) around comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, but such an orbit is needed no earlier than 2 hours before the separation of the Fillet module. At this time, another corrective engine will push the satellite back to the comet until the separation of the Fillet module, which occurs at a distance of 22 kilometers (14 miles) from the dusty surface. This maneuver will make it possible for Rosetta to come closer to the comet up to a distance of 5 kilometers (3 miles). After that, the spacecraft will adjust its position within 40 minutes after separation, thereby ensuring the visibility of the landing of the Fillet.

This complex series of orbital corrections is described in this animation:

Landing the Fillet module on the 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet will be the first time in history when a robotic landing module makes a soft landing on a comet. In September, mission scientists announced that location "J" would be a landing site for Fillets, located on a small recess of the comet. But there is no full confidence in the successful landing. Engineers estimate the chances of success at about 70 percent.

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