Now in one complete animation: Rosetta’s trajectory around Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, from arrival to mission end.
The animation begins on 31 July 2014, during Rosetta’s final approach to the comet after its ten-year journey through space. The spacecraft arrived at a distance of 100 km on 6 August, from where it gradually approached the comet and entered initial mapping orbits that were needed to select a landing site for Philae. These observations also enabled the first comet science of the mission.
The manoeuvres in the lead up to, during and after Philae’s release on 12 November are seen, before Rosetta settled into longer-term science orbits.
In February and March 2015 the spacecraft made several flybys. One of the closest triggered a ‘safe mode’ that forced it to retreat temporarily until it was safe to draw gradually closer again.
The comet’s increased activity in the lead up to and after perihelion in August 2015 meant that Rosetta remained well beyond 100 km for several months.
In June 2015, contact was restored with Philae again – albeit temporary, with no permanent link able to be maintained, despite a series of dedicated trajectories flown by Rosetta for several weeks.
Following the closest approach to ...