Friday, November 13, 2009

Second and final Rosetta flyby of Earth.

The ESA spacecraft Rosetta, made it's second flyby of the Earth today. The spacecraft was launched back in March 2004, swung past Mars, back past Earth again in 2007, and then one more time today. They flybys close to the planets are for "steering" and boosting the spacecraft on course to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (no, don't ask me how to say that either!) where it will deploy a lander to the surface in November 2014.
This is the timeline for the mission:
Launch 2 March 2004
1st Earth swingby 4 March 2005 (distance from Earth
: 1955 km)
Mars swingby 25 February 2007 (distance from Mars: 250 km)
2nd Earth swingby 13 November 2007 (distance from Earth: 5301 km)
Steins flyby 5 September 2008 (distance from Steins: 800 km)
3rd Earth swingby 13 November 2009 (distance from Earth: 2500 km)
Lutetia flyby 10 June 2010 (distance from Lutetia: 3000 km)
Comet rendezvous maneuvers 22 May 2014 (distance from comet: 600 000–100 000 km)
Lander delivery 10 November 2014 (distance fr
om comet: 1–2 km)
End of mission December 2015
The spacecraft whizzed past our planet at 29,820 mph missing by 1,541 miles.

Day before the flyby:
Close approach over Eastern US/Gulf of Mexico - Pick out the cities!

Looking back at home on the way out| Rosetta ESA site |
| Emily from Planetary Society's blog entry |

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