Rosetta and Philae landing timeline

A timeline of the most crucial activities related to separation, descent and landing on 11 and 12 November.

What does Philae do during descent? Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

What does Philae do during descent? Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

It has been compiled with inputs from the Flight Control Team at ESOC and the Science Operations Team at ESAC and is accurate as of now. PLEASE remember: many of these times are subject to change and confirmation, given the extremely dynamic nature of this delicate and complex operation. We'll do our best to update this as we receive firm information, but on 12 November the live webcasts from ESA TV and ESA's social media accounts (Twitter!) will be the best ways to get the latest information.

Admittedly, this timeline is a little dense, but we thought it better to provide more detail for those who – like us! – are extreme Rosetta & Philae fans (and you know who you are!). We'll publish a lighter version in the main ESA website later today and there's also a high-level version in the press kit (PDF; page 63 or in SlideShare here). And for those who wish, here is the opposite: an even more detailed version as a PDF, or also in Slideshare.

Review the notes/legend underneath for acronyms (no space mission can succeed without them!). There's also a diagramme illustrating the delivery orbits.


All times are subject to change and should not be assumed confirmed. Actual times may vary considerably. Please follow ESA TV, the Rosetta website, the Rosetta blog and ESA social media for the latest updates. All are linked via

One-way light time (OWLT): 00h:28m:20s
Earth distance: 511 million km
CET/UTC offset: 01h:00m:00s
Updated 8.11.2014 to correct 12/11 04:28UTC event and add 01:00UTC event
Updated 12.11.2014 to indicate new GO/NOGO time for Philae lander, now at 02:35 UTC / 03:35 CET



on Earth

on Earth


11/11 01:48:49 02:48:49 BOT ESA New Norcia (NNO)
11/11 03:10:00 04:10:00 BOT NASA DSN Canberra
11/11 12:25:00 13:25:00 EOT Canberra
11/11 13:40:00 14:40:00 BOT DSN Madrid
11/11 13:58:05 14:58:05 BOT ESA Malargüe (MLG)
11/11 14:00:00 15:00:00 Flight Dynamics Team at ESOC begin orbit determination procedure to accurately fix Rosetta's precise trajectory
11/11 14:30:17 15:30:17 EOT ESA NNO
11/11 18:33:20 19:33:20 Lander switch-on. Includes switching on Electrical Support System, which controls orbiter communication interface with the lander
11/11 19:05:20 20:05:20 Lander batteries and compartment heating
ADS Tank (Active Descent System - provides cold gas thrust upwards to avoid rebound upon landing) opening
11/11 19:25:20 20:25:20 Lander Primary Battery conditioning start; about 28 mins
11/11 19:00:00 20:00:00 EOT DSN Madrid
11/11 19:30:00 20:30:00 GO/NOGO1 - Last full orbit determination; ESOC Flight Dynamics confirms Rosetta trajectory is correct
11/11 20:03:00 21:03:00 Rosetta starts slew to pre-delivery manoeuvre attitude (expected loss of signal)
11/11 20:20:00 21:20:00 BOT DSN Goldstone
11/11 20:43:00 21:43:00 End of Rosetta slew
11/11 20:52:20 21:52:20 Start Lander flywheel operation - provides stability during descent
11/11 23:25:00 00:25:00 BOT DSN Goldstone
11/11 23:40:00 00:40:00 BOT DSN Canberra
12/11 00:00:00 01:00:00 EOT DSN Goldstone
12/11 00:00:00 01:00:00 GO/NOGO 2(a) - Confirm telecommands to control delivery sequence are ready
GO/NOGO 2(b) - ESOC confirms Rosetta is ready
12/11 01:00:00 02:00:00 ESOC uploads commands to control spacecraft for Lander delivery operations
12/11 01:03:20 02:03:20 Lander generates final telemetry (TM) on-board prior to GO/NOGO for SEP decision
12/11 01:35:00 02:35:00 (EXPECTED AT 02:35 UTC / 03:35 CET) GO/NOGO 3 - Confirm Philae is ready for landing
12/11 01:46:10 02:46:10 BOT ESA New Norcia
12/11 03:02:50 04:02:50 EOT ESA Malargüe
12/11 04:03:20 05:03:20 Lander - start of Separation, Descent & Landing (SDL) activities
Start switching Lander instruments ON; ROMAP first
12/11 04:28:20 05:28:20 Rosetta - Start executing on-board commands for delivery operations
12/11 04:34:20 05:34:20 Start heating Lander batteries to separation temperature
12/11 06:03:20 07:03:20 Rosetta - Earliest start pre-delivery manoeuvre (thruster burn)
Burn will be followed by loss of signal due to subsequent slew for separation
Manoeuvre expected to be about 0.46m/s & about 6 mins duration


on Earth

on Earth


12/11 06:35:00 07:35:00 Earliest GO/NOGO 4 - final decision to go for landing
12/11 07:03:20 08:03:20 Rosetta - Latest start pre-delivery manoeuvre
12/11 07:35:00 08:35:00 Latest GO/NOGO 4 - final decision to go for landing
- - Following MVR, ESOC Flight Dynamics Team conducts rapid assessment of MVR performance to verify burn results
12/11 07:49:20 08:49:20 Lander - Switch on MUPUS
12/11 07:52:20 08:52:20 Start MUPUS operation and switch-on CivaRolis
ÇIVA and ROLIS are imaging systems; ÇIVA makes panoramic images, ROLIS looks down
12/11 07:55:20 08:55:20 Start CivaRolis operation and switch-on SESAME (dust sensor)
12/11 08:04:20 09:04:20 Start SESAME operation
12/11 08:46:20 09:46:20 Start MSS (Mechanical Support System), which executes the mechanical separation from the Orbiter
12/11 08:46:20 09:46:20 Separation Motors ON
12/11 08:49:20 09:49:20 Start CONSERT Orbiter operation
12/11 08:50:20 09:50:20 Start CONSERT Lander operation
12/11 08:51:20 09:51:20 Start MSS sequence - internal autosequence to prepare for landing
12/11 08:53:20 09:53:20 Lander now on internal battery power
12/11 - - Screws in Separation Motors start to rotate and impart deployment speed to push Lander away, retrograde .21 m/s
12/11 09:03:20 10:03:20 PHILAE SEPARATION (Forecast; 94-sec window)
Separation confirmation received on ground via ESA's NNO New Norcia station
12/11 09:04:12 10:04:12 Lander (ÇIVA) obtains first images of Orbiter (FAREWELL1)
12/11 09:06:17 10:06:17 Lander (ÇIVA) obtains seconds images of Orbiter (FAREWELL2)
12/11 09:12:17 10:12:17 Lander / Orbiter separation distance now ~100m
Earliest autodeployment of landing gear and ROMAP boom antenna
12/11 09:25:50 10:25:50 Lander starts rotation of 14 degrees to stable landing orientation
12/11 09:43:20 10:43:20 Rosetta performs post-delivery manoeuvre
Burn will be followed by loss of signal due to subsequent slew back to nominal pointing
Manoeuvre magnitude to be determined on 12/11
12/11 09:47:17 10:47:17 Lander completes all post-separation activities
12/11 10:53:20 11:53:20 Acquisition of signal (AOS) from Rosetta
Expected AOS; link with Rosetta now re-established
12/11 11:59:20 12:59:20 Start of stored data downlink from Rosetta & Philae
12/11 12:20:00 13:20:00 EOT DSN Canberra
12/11 13:15:00 14:15:00 BOT DSN Madrid
12/11 13:55:00 14:55:00 BOT ESA MLG
12/11 14:27:00 15:27:00 EOT NNO
12/11 14:58:57 15:58:57 Lander - switch-on Anchor & CivaRolis


on Earth

on Earth


12/11 15:01:57 16:01:57 Lander - start imaging landing site and switch on ADS (Active Descent System)
12/11 15:07:02 16:07:02 ROLIS begins imaging
12/11 15:17:15 16:17:15 On board Lander, systems conduct final pre-touch-down operations
12/11 15:22:20 16:22:20 Start of Lander touch-down window
12/11 16:02:20 17:02:20 EXPECTED LANDING and receipt of signal (Forecast; 40 min variability)
12/11 - - Upon landing - start post-touch-down operations including:
* ADS thruster fires for ~15 sec to avoid rebound
* Harpoons (X2) fire to secure Lander to surface
* Flywheel off
12/11 16:07:12 17:07:12 ÇIVA-P panoramic imaging on
Lander obtains first images of surface and transmits same (forecast; depends on landing time)
12/11 16:07:14 17:07:14 Separation, Descent & Landing (SDL) science observations continue: Ptolemy & COSAC begin science gathering; data collected during descent and initial surface observations will be uploaded
12/11 16:39:39 17:39:39 Lander completes SDL operations; upload of science data
12/11 17:49:07 18:49:07 Lander begins First Science Sequence (FSS) Block 1; runs about 7 hours
12/11 19:00:00 20:00:00 EOT DSN Madrid
12/11 19:03:00 20:03:00 End of Lander/Orbiter first communication window
13/11 01:43:00 02:43:00 BOT ESA NNO
13/11 02:59:00 03:59:00 EOT ESA MLG

Keen for more details? Download the extended version of this timeline here.


BOT Begin of track
EOT End of track
NNO ESA - ESTRACK 35m New Norcia tracking station, Australia
MLG ESA - ESTRACK 35m Malargüe tracking station, Argentina
LDR Philae Lander
ROS Rosetta Orbiter
LCC Lander Control Centre, DLR/Cologne
ESOC Rosetta Control Centre, ESA/Darmstadt
ROLIS Rosetta Lander Imaging System (ROLIS): CCD imager designed to return images of the landing site before and after Philae has landed
ADS Active Descent System (ADS) - this system emits cold gas thrust at touchdown to avoid rebound.
BOT Indicates when station is pointing & ready. Actual acquisition of signal may come only afterwards
DSS 25 NASA - DSN 34m Goldstone tracking station, California, USA
DSS 45 NASA - DSN 34m Canberra tracking station, Australia
DSS 55 NASA - DSN 34m Madrid tracking station, Spain
DSS 54 NASA - DSN 34m Madrid tracking station, Spain
MVR Manoeuvre - a thruster burn to change direction and/or speed
MSS (Mechanical Support System) is the lander side of Philae which executes the mechanical separation from the orbiter.
ESS ESS (Electrical Support System) is the orbiter part of the lander. The ESS controls the orbiter communication interface with the lander. ESS itself operates as usual as power and data interface to the Orbiter.

Link to Lander science instruments via



Labelled diagram indicating Rosetta’s trajectory from the end of October until early December. Credit: ESA

Labelled diagram indicating Rosetta’s trajectory from the end of October until early December. Screenshot from video. Credit: ESA



  • IWG says:

    Oooooh so exciting! Thank you for posting this up. 🙂

  • Steve M says:

    Great timeline for a fascinating mission.

    One query, by time "on Earth" do you mean Earth received time: the time a signal would be received on Earth allowing for one way light time?

  • DavidM says:

    Re ADS switch on 11/11 at 20:05 I hope the cold gas thrust will be downwards, 'cos if it's upwards a rebound would be fairly certain . . .

    • adam says:

      You have it wrong. You're thinking about an object with large mass/gravity to pull the lander to it. This is not the case. This isn't a Moon/Mars landing. Think about trying to float in space, and travel at speed toward the space station. When you hit it. you will bounce off back into space. But if you have jets on your back that fire up (opposite of your travel direction) then it will push and hold you onto the surface of which you are attempting to land. If they fired down (at the surface) it would just blow you out into space.

  • Jason Rowberg says:

    You guys are doing fantastic work. Way to go - and good luck!

  • Katherine Rowan says:

    Would be great even with the time delay if there was a live stream of this on Twitch or some such.

  • Sébastien says:

    So excited !!! Great !!! Keep my fingers crossed.

  • John Palmer says:

    Any idea yet how deep the fine 'dust' is at Agilkia?
    Can Philae land in deep dust? Could electrostatic charge coat Philae lenses with fine dust?

    Great days!

  • cosmo says:

    Could you please explain this paradox?

    11/11 20:03:00 21:03:00 Rosetta starts slew to pre-delivery manoeuvre attitude (expected loss of signal)
    12/11 04:28:20 05:28:20 Rosetta - Earliest possible start of slew into manoeuvre (MVR) orientation

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Cosmo, Thanks! That was an artefact left over from a previous edit. The actual (correct) entry in the ESOC Formal Ops Timeline for this time slot is:

      12/11/2014 04:00 12/11/2014 04:28 12/11/2014 05:28 Start plan 52

      What this means is the s/c will begin executing the time-tagged command stack that will control the s/c for the rest of the delivery activities. So, I've updated the timeline to read:

      "Rosetta - Start executing on-board commands for delivery operations"

      I hope this is sufficiently clear - and thanks for catching this.

      I also added an entry for 01:00UTC ground which is when the commands are uplinked.

      -- Daniel

  • Cometstalker says:

    Looking forward to hear the sound of the comet. Must i wait a year or will you present it A.S.A.P?

    • Cometstalker says:

      Thanks for the odd sound. A 20 to 25 second period time is strange and i think a magneto resistive modulation of some acoustic electric process, an interaction of comet, coma and solar wind?

  • patriot67 says:

    Rockhound: Yeah, I remember this one. It's where the, uh, the coyote sat his ass down in a slingshot then he strapped himself to an Acme rocket. Is that - is that what we're doin' here?
    Harry Stamper: [under his breath] Rockhound.
    Rockhound: No, no, really, because it didn't work out too well for the coyote, Harry.
    Harry Stamper: [talking over him] Hey, Rock. Knock it off.
    Truman: Well, actually, we have a lot better rockets than the coyote.

    • patriot67 says:

      Im sorry for the humorous comment from the movie "ARMAGEDDON " but thats the first thing I though of when they launched this thing 10 years ago and with the confusing & seriousness of all the comments I thought it may lighten it up a bit !!

    • logan says:

      Coyote sometimes had his way. Best wishes.

  • Birgit Hofmann says:

    Hello Rosetta-Team !
    Alles gute, all the best, good luck, bonne chance...
    and :
    May the force be with you !

    GO, philae !

  • David Miller says:

    Will ESA be broadcasting video on the Internet of the separation of Philae from Rosetta and its landing on Comet 67P? If so, could you post a link to the Website?

  • John says:

    Even if this fails miserably and little Philae bounces off Agilkia and smashes Rosetta into shards it is a wonderful and magical adventure and you have already achieved so very, very much. My thanks to everyone on all the teams from NASA and ESA and everyone else.
    Great work, people.

  • Ulrich Katte says:

    A German holding his breath down here in Brasil ... alles Gute und viel Glueck!

  • Alejandro Verdugo says:


  • John Uibel says:

    With surface temperatures so low (and, presumably, the ice so hard), what is the probability of the harpooning action either causing damage to Philae or rebounding the little fella out into space? Is there any opportunity for Philae to give it a second attempt at that point?

    Who was the first scientist to suggest this as a viable mission all those years ago? How long had Comet 67P been considered as a rendezvous candidate for a mission like this?

    Good luck to all -- I love following this adventure.

    • Sky says:

      Last time I remember it was 70% success and 30% chance of a failure, but.... that really wasn't any official information, just one ESA guy throwing random numbers when pushed to do so. 🙂

    • Lorand Lukacs jr says:

      Because of the low gravity of the comet the lander feets will "grab" the surface the same moment it tuches down and the engine on top of the lander will ignite and push the lander toward the surface. The harpoones will be fired and dig deep into the surface (from its hardness dependent). Since they are attached to the bottom of the lander with wires that will retract when the harpoons are fixed and the lander is dampend the landers mass and pressure from the engine will keep it on the surface. The wires will then retract and carefully straiten out and hold the lander via the harpoons down. The harpoons are equipped with axellerometers and pressure gauges to measure desired data to calculate the surface hardness and depth of intrution lenght.
      The project originated back in the 1970ties, and target was changed when Ariane 5 rocket could not perform correctly in 2003. Postponed lauch and target from comet Wirtanen to 67P/C-G (named after two Ukrainian "scientists". See link: for more details.

  • Bill says:

    In celebratory anticipation of the landing of the Philae spacecraft, I have prepared a series of Geomorphologic maps of the region around the Agilkia landing site.

    These are the first two maps of the series: the base map and the preliminary geomorphologic map. More images in the series will be posted in,


  • Graham Cox says:

    Could one of these gas release jets move the comet little off course/chnage its speed and make the landing more difficult ?

  • Graham Cox says:

    Any tips on how to get my son's primary school interests. Almost all creative/artistic background f email teachers

  • Tarek Farouk says:

    Very excited.
    Hope landing goes completed safely and smoothly.
    Cannot wait more.
    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Nana says:

    Very excited.You`re doing a great job and thank you a lot for sharing this with us.Best wishes for the event.
    Go,Rosetta/Philae and make it real!!!:)))

  • Birgit Hofmann says:

    7 hours of terror......i am curious an excited.

  • Tof says:

    Are comets dirty snow balls or rocky elctric charged objects ?

    Precedent predictions and results from the Thunderbolts Projects and mission Temple I from electrical engineer Wallace Thornhill :

    I hope, for a successfull mission, that the Philae probe is enough and correctly electrically INSULATED.

    A possible electric discharge will occure just before landing between Philae and 67P, as previously noticed with the Temple I mission impactor.

    In any way, I wish a good landing to Philae, it is a so great technical challenge !!!

  • Peter G says:

    At what time are peanuts being served @ Darmstadt? I'll make sure to follow suit! It's a tradition that originated @ NASA but let's do what we can to improve the chance of a successful landing!

    • masanori says:

      Of course, sandwich! That's what I'm doing for this operation. Or may be for this mission onwards!

  • samy says:

    I wish you all the best. Human genius in action!

  • José Ramón says:

    All the best, great work, great feedback to the general public. Very clean website, lots of resources. Thx a lot 🙂

  • ROBERTO says:


  • tammy watkins says:

    Awesome! Safe landing Philae xx

  • wim mergaert says:

    why philae does have 3 feet and not 4 (presupposing that 4 feet enhance an upright landing on such a irregular surface ?)

    • Cometstalker says:

      Try to put a 4 legged chair on an irregular surface and note that 3 legs always stay in contact. Also note that with 4 legs its quite wiggly some times shifting from one stable 3 leg geometry to an other. Lesson learned?

  • Stephen KRamer says:

    Great coverage! As an engineer and someone with interests in technical things it would be great to hear information about the spacecraft as things progress, some more detail about how things work!

  • Harald says:

    In a few hours it will be very clear that the universe is full of life

  • Gino Sorci says:

    How much gravity is on the landing point? Kilograms or grams?

    • Jamie F says:

      from the faq:
      What is the gravity on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's surface, compared with that on Earth?
      Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is so small that its gravitational pull is several hundred thousand times weaker than on Earth. For this reason, the Rosetta lander will touch down at no more than a walking pace. It will need a harpoon to safely anchor it to the comet’s surface and prevent it from bouncing back into space.
      It has a mass of ~200kg,
      Churyumov-Gerasimenko 1.0x10^13kg
      and about 4000m across, or 2000m to the centre of gravity.
      F = GmM/r2
      = ( 6.67 x 10^-11) (200kg) (10^13kg) / 2000^2
      =0.3335 newtons.
      ...or virtually zero force.

  • Matt says:

    Good luck guys !

  • Geoffr11 says:

    God Speed
    Good luck guys

  • Javier D says:

    Thanks for sharing this epic moment. You are awsome! Good luck and good landing! Best wishes from Spain.

  • James Coleman says:

    Today is one of the greatest day in the history of space exploration.
    This mission of the first attempt at a soft landing on a comet, to me is the most exciting & incredible space mission since I've been an amateur astronomer. (I was struggling to sleep last night due to excitement) Good to hear the separation went well.
    Good Lucky to ESA for the rest of the mission.

  • Peter Reis says:

    A truly fantastic mission. Science fiction in reality.
    Congratulations to the entire team.
    Good luck for the future.

  • Ismael Civera says:

    I was nervous when Giotto crossed the tail of Halley, and today I feel the same.
    Thanks to all people that made posible this mission.

  • LJ says:

    Congratulations! Well done!

  • Congrats! what a fantastic achievement by so many. Many thanks to ESA for making this happen for all of us. May fortune smile long on Philae and Rosetta and all of the Mission team!!

    Scott from Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Comments are closed.