We spoke with (a slightly tired but hugely happy) Rosetta Spacecraft Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo earlier this afternoon and he reports the spacecraft is doing fine!

Here’s a quick update:

  • After yesterday’s spectacular receipt of first signal at 19:18 CET, ending 31 months of hibernation, the team have re-established full control over Rosetta.
  • All basic parameters have been checked out, and it looks like Rosetta came through hibernation fine.
  • For example, the propellant tank temperatures are running now at 7-9 deg C, slightly colder than the 10-15 deg C expected but well within predictions
  • Power levels (i.e. electricity available from the huge solar panels) are fine and substantially similar to the levels prior to hibernation.
  • The solar arrays appear not to have suffered very much degradation if any during 31 months.
  • Team working today to start configuring the solid-state mass memory for use.
  • Next big step will be warming up the reaction wheels and then spinning them up for verification; this will take several days.
  • Acquisition of signal (AOS) yesterday came 18 minutes later than hoped for, but also well within expectations.
  • The slight AOS delay was due to the on-board computer automatically rebooting itself at the beginning of the hibernation exit sequence; the team are looking into this (but Andrea stresses this is not problematic).
  • The team have switched the spacecraft’s transmitter to X-band; this means we can now get a decent download rate of about 9 kbps.
  • Tracking has been provided via NASA’s Canberra and ESA’s New Norcia stations; NASA Goldstone was on call for backup; from now on the NASA DSN stations will swap roles (Canberra will be on call for back-up).

In summary?

“We’re very happy,” says Andrea. “The exit from hibernation and wake up went about as close to nominal as we could have wished.”