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Cheers as Rosetta ‘Wakes Up’ from Deep Space Hibernation

After two and a half years without any contact from Earth, the Rosetta Spacecraft’s internal alarm clock sounded on January 20th at 10am UTC to bring it out of its deep space hibernation period. After initially warming up its star trackers and going through a series of self checks, Rosetta then pointed its 2.2m high-gain antenna towards Earth and sent a signal home.

The signal, which came in around 18 minutes later than anticipated, was picked up by NASA’s 70m dish antenna in Goldstone, California and then relayed to mission control at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. There were cheers from the flight controllers as Rosetta’s long anticipated signal indicated that Rosetta was in good shape and ready to proceed with the 980m dollar comet-chasing mission.

Rosetta SignalRosetta is currently around 9 million kilometres (5.6m miles) from Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasmienko moving to around 2 million kilometres (1.2m miles) by early May. Towards the end of May, Rosetta will perform a major manoeuvre to put it in line for rendezvous with the comet this coming August.

Rosetta will map Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko for a period of two months for a suitable landing site, before deploying the Philae Lander to the comet’s surface in November this year.

You can read more about the Rosetta Mission and see LIVE data on our dedicated Rosetta Spacecraft Mission page which includes a mission timeline and current mission status updates.