11.23.2009

Rosetta bound for outer Solar System after final Earth swingby

11.13.2009
This morning, mission controllers confirmed that ESA’s comet chaser Rosetta had swung by Earth at 8:45 CET as planned, skimming past our planet to pick up a gravitational boost for an epic journey to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014.
Rosetta passed over the ocean, just South of the Indonesian island of Java, at exactly 08:45:40 CET, at a speed of 13.34 km/s with respect to Earth at an altitude of 2481 km. The swingby was pre-planned and fully automated, and the spacecraft was in direct communication with Earth at the time, via the ESA New Norcia Station.
The successful swingby was confirmed at 09:05 CET when mission controllers re-established contact with Rosetta via ESA’s Maspalomas station in Spain. Although a detailed analyses is in progress, spacecraft operators have confirmed that the swingby provided a boost of 3.6 km/s.
Europe’s comet chaser has now flown a little over 4500 million km of its 7100 million km journey to its destination comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This was Rosetta’s fourth planetary swingby and the third and final swingby of Earth.

[Source: http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Rosetta/SEMZC04VU1G_0.html]
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