Rosetta and Philae separation confirmed

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

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

The Philae lander has separated from the Rosetta orbiter, and is now on its way to becoming the first spacecraft to touch down on a comet.

Separation was confirmed at ESA’s Space Operation Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany at 09:03 GMT / 10:03 CET. It takes the radio signals from the transmitter on Rosetta 28 minutes and 20 seconds to reach Earth, so separation actually occurred in space at 08:35 GMT / 09:35 CET.

The first signal from Philae is expected in around two hours, when the lander establishes a communication link with Rosetta. Philae cannot send its data to Earth directly – it must do it via Rosetta.

Once the link has been established, the lander will relay via Rosetta a status report of its health, along with the first science data. This will include images taken of the orbiter shortly after separation.

The descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko will take around seven hours, during which the lander will take measurements of the environment around the comet. It will also take images of the final moments of descent.

Confirmation of a successful touchdown is expected in a one-hour window centred on 16:02 GMT / 17:02 CET. The first image from the surface is expected some two hours later.

Follow the event live:




  • Ralf Berkvens says:

    Good luck, and happy landings!

    • Raf van de Vreugde says:

      Good luck, Philae.
      Looking forward for the first images and landing!

  • Philae Fan says:

    Amazing! Congratulations to all!!

  • Fernando says:

    Go baby, go !!!

  • J. J. Nemec says:

    Have a safe flight and smooth landing…I hope you enjoy your new home !!

  • blue says:

    Good luck Philae!

  • Robin Sherman says:

    GO PHILAE!! Now its really time to get nervous. Brilliant work by Andrea and his team. No all he has to do is worry about where the scientists want him to drive Rosetta over the next year, through an every increasing ice and dust storm and warbling magnetic fields. Over to Stephan and the folks at CNES and DLR.

    Fantastic already, more to come hopefully.

  • Saieric says:

    It is about time we start mining the outer solar system!

  • Hilary Sternberg says:

    Absolutely incredible and amazing! Keeping dingers crossed…

  • Mike says:

    Hoahh Philae !!!

  • Fred_76 says:

    Run Forest, run !

  • we visit a comet !!! hopefully all goes well! fingers crossed 🙂 – good luck Philae

  • Parth says:

    Jhakaaas! Brilliant! Congratulations ESA, will watch the coverage live from Sydney Australia.

  • Hilary Sternberg says:

    Dingers? I meant fingers!

  • Vince Williams says:

    Good luck! hope the thruster malfunction isnt too critical for the landing and its just a sensor glitch

    • Sky says:

      It actually is. If thruster will really fail – the only hope of Philae is in harpoons, which might be VERY problematic if surface will come out to be made of solid rock (or solid rock covered by a very thin layer of dust). Suddenly we’re facing a very high probability of Philae simply bouncing off the comet.

      You remember that 75% chance to land successfully? Now, with thruster failure, it’s more like 37%.

  • John Bitmead says:

    Incredibly excited and wishing you all the best of luck during your arrival and landing

  • SpaceMan says:

    hopefully the mission will be successfully and land on the comet, fingers crossed !!

  • Terry Kelly says:

    Now we pushing ice:)
    Just love it

  • Sebastian says:

    Wow last time i was that excited was on my 9th birthday back in ’97 when Pathfinder landed on Mars. Good luck!!
    Just read about some problems with Philae… Well even if something goes wrong you guys have done an amazing job so far! What an unbelievable journey 🙂
    Greeting from germany

  • SpaceMan says:

    maybe the real space aliens will shoot the comet down before landing, pls not !!

  • Anton says:

    This is the real space blockbuster. Forget Interstellar. Philae, wishes from India.

  • Carlos Cervera says:

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

  • Hesham & Maha & Mahmoud says:

    Have a safe landing Philae….Good Luck.

  • Theo van Dooren says:

    Have a good flight. Marvellous!!!

  • Francisco says:

    Congrats from Spain! Jean-François Champollion would be proud of you! Go Europe! Go Earth!

  • Roberto Cherubini says:

    Godd luck! We’re proud of you.

  • Pete Williams says:

    We dare to dream and attempt the impossible. Isaac, play nice with Philae!

  • Orlando says:

    Good luck little fella, may the eternal journey be a safe one..don’t forget to send lots of pics

  • Niels Brandt says:

    Really exciting – brings back memories from when Huygens touched down on Titan !

    I cross my fingers for a success landing !

  • Artur Gasparetto says:

    ESA going where no one has gone before…
    Good luck from Brazil!

  • Berthold Fritz says:

    Hooks will hold you until the snow is gone. Stay online as long as you can, Philae!

  • Angelo says:

    Good luck , hoping that Philae will land safely even without thruster

  • skydiverrg says:

    When will the 1st pictures of separation arrive Earth?

  • Cometstalker says:

    So where are the pictures? Any giant fluffy drifting snowflakes ahead? Will the comet music change its rhythm once philae is a new member of the orchestra? Any how, if the landing is not perfect we still will applaud.

    Don’t forget to order for cigars as they are needed to celebrate today, you can also use its ashes to estimate how wrong a wild guess of the comet surface can turn out to be.

    The ice in the whiskey serves a similar purpose. And i bet you will say congratulation to the teams and lessons learned,

  • Good Luck Philae !!!

  • Stefan Smith says:

    I feel more excited here than with Interstellar !

  • Graham Jones says:

    Good luck ESA. Make us dream.

  • Laura says:

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  • Ottley says:

    Good Luck! hope all goes well, i will be watching it live, even though it will be 3am here in Australia, can’t wait!

  • cluster09 says:

    One small step for a small probe, but a big step for mankind !
    Best wishes and good luck esa…!

  • mike henne says:

    Congrats on the successful separation and the whole amazing voyage. With the thousands of procedures from construction, to launch, the navigation, and orbital insertion, I am simply awe-stricken with your precision. Well done.

  • Matthew Leese says:

    Just awesome! Wishing you all every success after all your years of hard work!

  • Danny says:

    One giant leap for ‘all’ mankind. My six (& 1/2) year old Zoe wishes the robot good luck. Night, night from Sydney!

  • Tekin says:

    You guys rule! I admire you. I wish you best luck with your mission. Loves from Turkiye.

  • Jens Brooks says:

    Well done for getting this far! Awesome job by everyone. Can’t wait for touchdown.

  • Darren Bremner says:

    Absolutely fantastic GOOD LUCK everybody concerned. I have followed with interest for a long time reposting blogs to facebook. What a historic day so glad to have seen this in my lifetime

  • Paul Bonehill says:

    Good luck to you all with what is an amazing mission, truly mind blowing for mere mortals like me…

  • Rob says:

    I am in awe. Even if the lander fails the mission has been a resounding success of ingenuity and imagination. Well done all concerned and good luck for the next 7 hrs.

  • lucas says:

    Good luck. ! Cant wait for the pictures. 🙂

  • Pavel says:

    Bruce Willis must be watching closely – he was the first to land on a comet ))

  • Juan Simón says:

    Increíble misión!! Siguiendo desde Argentina este día histórico para la ciencia.
    Estamos ansiosos por ver las imágenes post-separación.
    Buena suerte con el aterrizaje!!

  • Adrian says:

    Buena suerte Philae. Don´t rush!


    ı hope all the best for our world.
    thanks to rosetta.good luck philae 🙂

  • Klasse 6a says:

    Die Klasse 6a der Realschule Munderklingen gratuliert zur Trennung und wünscht eine gute Landung!!!

  • Xavier says:

    fantastic! you can be proud of you! what an amazing achievement so far! and there’s so much more to come!!!! cheers from istanbul!

  • Bob Morris says:

    Here we go! Good luck for a successful landing.

  • Conor McGuire says:

    Bon Voyage Philae! After hundreds of hours playing Kerbal Space Programme I cant help but feel terribley nervous for all involved, I don’t know much, but I realise the significance of this mission. Best wishes from Ireland!

  • Dave Harris says:

    OK, so it’d be a huge shame if things went wrong now but it’s been an amazing job so far, really pushing the envelope, so much kudos to the teams that made this possible. I can’t wait to hear Philae has landed successfully.

    I’ve worked with ESA (on Columbus, amongst others) and I know that it’s not “just a job” for many of you. Keep on reaching for the stars, guys 🙂

  • Acompanhando o evento desde Orlando,Florida.

  • Peter Loman says:

    Good luck! Greetings from Denmark!

  • jamie fitz says:

    Will there be photos from the rosetta craft of philae’s descent??? Exciting!

  • Mariusz says:

    Go Philae!!! Keeping fingers crossed in Poland

  • sergio orrao says:

    Always great music around: Pat Metheny again to celebrate an happy landing to come. Thanks for all those emotions, and music as well!

  • Vince Williams says:

    Reminds me of the start of the Star Wars film “Empire Strikes Back” where the probe from Darth Vadres ship lands on the Rebel base planet and starts exploring, just before Han solo destroys it with his blaster, lol
    Hope we have better luck!

  • orlando de moura says:

    gostaria eu de estar nesta missão, gosto muito de pesquisar o espaço, e de conhecer outros mundos, muito interessante essa pesquisa desse cometa (sussesso)

  • Henry says:

    You never know what Philae will find on the comet !! From Henry 8 years old
    Good Luck from all of us at Belton School !!!

  • Otavio says:

    Good lucks guys and Philae; we´re following it from Brazil!

  • Doris says:

    Avanti Philae! Best wishes from Vienna!

  • Otavio says:

    Good luck guys and Philae; we´re following it from Brazil!

  • Chuck says:

    Remember to close you flightplan. 😛

    Seriously, great job and congratulation!

  • taskmasta says:

    remember to take your lunch

  • task masta says:

    remember to take yer lunch

  • VARUN V PAI says:

    Impossible is nothing….Philae…Have a safe landing..Good luck 😀

    Post your ‘selfies’ :*

  • Mario Nobre says:

    Awesome! Fantastic! Crossing fingers in Brazil! Boa sorte

  • Mihai-Gabriel Butuc says:

    Congratulations and success with the landing. As this is pure science and technology and no imaginary creatures are involved, it is useless to keep the fingers crossed. It is much better to keep the eyes wide open and think about the “miracles” that science can do.

  • PMLJP says:

    Good luck ESA and Philae, congratulations from Brasil.

  • Stefan says:

    Good luck with this trailblazing mission. I have been following this mission in awe for over a year. Thanks for sharing this historic event in real-time.

  • Mark says:

    Good luck, Philae! All our hopes go with you. This really is one mission for the history books.

  • Christian Niehaus says:

    Good luck, Philae!

  • Maciej Duda says:

    The longest houres…

    Good luck!!!

  • Emrah says:

    This mission shows us what humans are capable of once we stop fighting each other and cooperate. I hope this spirit finds its place here on earth also…Best of luck tonight !

  • francesco says:

    GO PHILAE!!! … A small flight for you, a giant leap for us!
    Greetings from Napoli!

  • IoannisP says:

    Excellent work!!
    Congrats to all!
    We are all holding our breath; even my 9 year old daughter who is at school. I think this might prove to be the most important achievement in the years to come. Inspiring a new generation of open minded people.
    Excellent work!!
    Congrats to all!
    We are all holding our breath; even my 9 year old daughter who is at school. I think this might prove to be the most important achievement in the years to come. Inspiring a new generation of open minded people.

  • Hai Huy Minh Cam Pha says:

    Best wishes for Philae! Make history first landing on a comet & discover alien life

  • Pete says:

    Its on now. Really crazy stuff and cant wait for the posts on the progress…good luck little one.

  • Andrea says:

    Congratulations so far and all the best of luck for the mission!

  • Are for achievements like these that are worth following straight on studying, researching and gaining knowledge … Congratulations to all!

  • Ronny says:

    Sensational….Good Luck both of you.

  • Jakob Haellgren says:

    Go Philae! I can’t believe this is happening! Fingers crossed.

  • Nikolaus says:

    Go little Philae go!
    Good luck for you from Bavaria and a happy touchdown!

  • Cometstalker says:

    Could someone PLEASE tell the persons holding a microphone to use this apparently too complicated device in a proper manner if they are prone to meake themselves heard,,,,,,,,,PLEASE

  • Peter Morgan says:

    Waking up in the US at 6:30EST,11:30UTC to good news. Have a Good Day!

  • Congrats from Saudi Arabia

  • Ajax Jones says:

    May your Contact Light be green !

  • mike from berlin says:

    This made my day, i wish you all the best, it´s s an incredible work of you all,, i hope we all can read tomorow in the newspaper, the eagle has landed, great step. thanks you to the great team. best regards from berlin mike

  • Alan Berger says:

    We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible, and we count these moments, these moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known, to count these moments as our proudest achievements, but we lost all that, or perhaps we’ve just forgotten, that we’re still pioneers, that we’ve barely begun and that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, that our destiny lies above us.

  • renal david says:

    Good luck….

  • Nassarawo says:

    Congratulations to Esa’s team. Philae will be the first earthling on an interplanetary snowboarding runway.

  • Chris Knight says:

    Best wishes for a successful landing from all at the Blind Pig Brewery in Champaign, Illinois. We will be brewing a commemorative beer. Rosetta-weiss!

  • Dave E. says:

    This is awesome! Something that is not so awesome is watching coverage on CNN where one of the anchors is amazed that a robot is landing on a MOVING comet. Not only is it moving, it is moving at “34,000 MPH!” News people – most are as dumb as a box of rocks.

  • Brian says:

    good luck everyone, this is so exciting.. no work done today watching for news of this event..

  • Martin R says:

    Good luck Philae! And congratulations to the whole Rosetta team for the excellent work done until now!

  • Marius Messerschmidt says:

    So far so good , hope everything runs well!

  • rob says:

    When we see the 1st photo from descent phase ?

  • Ngo Bao Minh 18-11 says:

    HELLO PHILAE! Goodluck from Halong-Viet Nam!

  • Bruce Willis says:

    Fantastic effort ESA truly great achievement.

    Now if I can find my can opener, I will be able to get out as soon as we land.

    Good luck, we all wish we were at the inevitable party

  • Ferdi MANDAL says:

    Good Luck Philae !!!

  • Mateo says:

    Go Baby Go!

  • THOMAS says:

    Sorry to strike what might seem like a slightly discordant note, but during the break between two live CometLanding webcasts, I’d like to record my personal doubts, during this money-time descent of Philae towards the comet, about its chances of landing safely on the surface and sending back the information it was designed to acquire.

    I was quite literally moved to tears, as many others following this blog presumably were too, when we got confirmation of the successful separation and the start of Philae’s descent this morning. The engineering achievement of all those who have been involved in the Rosetta/Philae mission over the years is quite simply stupendous. I’m as proud of, and amazed by, their work as anyone could be.

    I believe, however, that Philae has just been sent into the jaws of a lion whose existence had not been suspected (or sufficiently accounted for by the theorists) during the planning stages around 15 years ago. Even if Philae’s circuits are not quite simply shorted out as it approaches the electromagnetically active landing-zone, I fear at least that its communications with the Rosetta probe will be severely disturbed (and perhaps lastingly curtailed) by the same electromagnetic phenomena. We know that this sort of thing happens down here on Earth when radio signals are disrupted each time the Sun sends a coronal mass ejection in the direction of the Earth.

    But I sincerely hope I’m wrong because I’m as keen as anyone for Philae to provide the observations and data which should settle the conflict between competing cosmic models once and for all…

    • THOMAS says:

      (Sorry, moderators, I just posted a similar comment on the “TRACKING PHILAE’S DESCENT WITH MAGNETIC DATA” thread. I’ve just realized that my comment is perhaps even more pertinent on this thread.

      Please delete this comment if you see fit).

  • Rob says:

    Finally we got sth.
    From streaming video
    — Philae send confirming pictures it separated phisically and doing pictures well.

    keeping fingers crossed.

  • Lasrman says:

    Request permission to come aboard!

  • Thorsteinn says:

    Good luck and thank´s for this !

  • Luis says:

    Philad, yes can. Good luck.

  • Patti says:

    Very exciting! We are watching from Lawrence Kansas in the heartland of america.

  • Ian Stirling says:

    What science can be done if Philae bounces off and comes to rest upside-down or significantly non-horizontal.
    I guess CIVA will get nice panoramic images whichever way it’s up. Interesting science from the bounce accelleration.

    There is a fair chance the solar array will work at least somewhat.
    How is the link budget – how hard is it to get it into an orientation where it doesn’t work at all?

  • Darren Phillips says:

    Great news ESA!! Well done.

    I’m sitting here with all the the other expectant nailbiters waiting for the news as it comes….

  • AngeloBergamini says:

    If I do feel anxious I can’t image how sciencists that worked for this moment for years can feel now.
    Good luck to you all, you make us proud of mankind

  • Esther Carcamo says:

    Congratulation on your great accomplishments!!! Go baby go land on Rosetta. So excited 😀

  • taswhitco says:

    All the Best….

  • javiman says:

    Come on Philae¡¡¡
    Great job
    Thank you very much


  • Rob says:

    The history is happening now.

  • wonderfull storie ,can waite for Events.
    Gratulation to all sections on the Project

  • Ilya says:

    YES PHILLEA has landed still it harpoon didn’t work so there might be a chance of failure but good luck PHILEA GOOOOOO!! ENJOY your new home.

  • Ilya says:

    YES PHILLEA has landed still it harpoon didn’t work so there might be a chance of failure but good luck PHILEA. enjoy your new home

  • Michiel Muller says:

    The distance of the Rosetta to the earth is 800 million km = 8.45618728 × 10-5 lightyear = 44 minutes. The signal from Rosetta reaches the earth in 28 minutes. Does the signal from Rosetta travel quicker than the speed of light?

  • Maheshinder Singh Grewal says:


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