Re-Live the excitement

For those of you who couldn’t follow the live streamed event this morning, here’s a short summary of what happened here at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt at the Rosetta Rendezvous event. A full replay of the livestream can be found here.


The Rosetta rendezvous event at ESOC on 6 August 2014. Credit: ESA/J.Mai

The morning started with a welcome speech from Thomas Reiter (ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Mission Operations and Head of the European Space Operations Centre, ESOC) and addresses by ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain; Parliamentary State Secretary Brigitte Zypries, Air and Space Coordinator for the German Federal Government (BMWE); Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR German Aerospace Center; Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of the French space agency, CNES; and Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian space agency, ASI.

Then the programme switched to the Mission Control Room, where we heard from a number of scientists and engineers that are closely involved with Rosetta, as they waited for the final rendezvous manoeuvre to begin. We heard from Paolo Ferri (Head of Mission Operations Department, ESA, Darmstadt), Matt Taylor (ESA Rosetta Project Scientist) and Frank Budnik (ESA Rosetta Flight Dynamics expert).

At 11:00 CEST (09:00 UTC) Sylvain Lodiot, ESA Rosetta Spacecraft Operations Manager, announced that Rosetta’s last burn had started.

As everyone in the room looked forward to the end of the manoeuvre, three of the Principal Investigators from Rosetta talked about some of their recent discoveries: Holger Sierks from MPS in Göttingen, Germany, who is the PI of the OSIRIS instrument; Fabrizio Capaccioni from IAPS in Rome, Italy, who is the PI of the VIRTIS instrument, and Samuel Gulkis from NASA JPL in Pasadena, USA, who is the PI of the MIRO instrument.

Last but definitely not least, the programme switched back to Sylvain Lodiot and to Andrea Accomazzo, ESA Rosetta Flight Director, who both explained more details about today’s manoeuvre and the rendezvous.

Finally, at 09:02:29 UTC on board Rosetta, the final burn ended, meaning that Rosetta has arrived at her destination. “We are at the comet,” announced a jubilant Sylvain Lodiot to the delight of the large crowd following the event at ESOC, around 11:29 CEST.

Arriving at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is an historic moment for this remarkable mission. The morning programme closed with remarks of accomplishment and excitement by Mark McCaughrean, Senior Scientific Advisor, ESA Directorate of Space and Robotic Exploration, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and Álvaro Giménez, ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration.

Highlights from this afternoon’s session will be posted later, as will a replay of the afternoon session.



  • Stasinos says:

    Ten years preparations and ten years of waiting! I cannot imagine the joy of the co-workers of this achievement. Hoping all things go on schedule from now on and expecting anxiously the new knowledge about our solar system that rosetta will offer us, i say only this: continue to inspire this and the next generations. Congratulations.

  • Thanks to ESA for providing live stream of arrival event. Normally I don’t watch streams as one spends so much time watching the spinning wheel waiting for it re-cache, so it was with some trepidation that I committed to a two hour live-to-air radio broadcast of the Rosetta arrival event. A test 20 minutes before air time was a concern – streaming a video off ESA’s video portal spent more time caching than playing the video. Not a good omen.

    Then there was no steam from Rosetta website until a few seconds after the event was due to start at 6 pm AEST (10am CEST).

    Suddenly, about 10 seconds past six, the screen went live and I was able to put the audio to air.

    Until the event finsihed at about 7:45 pm, we had a continuous feed with absolutely no re-caching interruptions. I didn’t even get to use the back-up material I had prepared in case the stream failed.

    Our two hour broadcast was a marvellous success thanks to the professional presentation by ESA staff and the technical wizards who operated your Internet portal.

    Well done, and thank-you from our listeners in Melbourne, Australia.

    Andrew Rennie
    The Space Show
    88.3 Southern FM

  • Ingo Althöfer says:

    Hello, I was in Darmstadt, yesterday. It was great
    and wonderful. I have put some photos and
    text on a website:

    Cheers, Ingo.

    • Claudia says:

      Hi Ingo,
      Glad to hear that you enjoyed the event in ESOC, and many, many thanks for sharing your photos. They look great!
      Best wishes,

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