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Philae (Rosetta Lander): Experiment status after commissioning

Advances in Space Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2006.09.016
  • Comets
  • Rosetta
  • Philae
  • Lander
  • Solar System
  • In Situ Experiments
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science


Abstract Being successfully launched on March 2, 2004, ESA’s cornerstone mission “ROSETTA” (originally planned to be launched in January 2003 to comet Wirtanen) is en route. It will also bring the 100 kg Lander “Philae” with a scientific payload of 26.7 kg to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After a first scientific sequence in 2014 it will operate for a considerable fraction of the cometary orbit around the sun (between 3 AU and at least 2 AU). The Lander, after separation, is an autonomous spacecraft powered with solar cells and using the ROSETTA Orbiter as a telemetry relais to Earth. The main scientific objectives are the in situ investigation of the chemical, elemental, isotopic and mineralogical composition of the comet, study of the physical properties of the surface material, analyze the internal structure of the nucleus, observe temporal variations (day/night cycle, approach to sun), study the relationship between the comet and the interplanetary matter and provide ground truth data for the Orbiter instruments. Ten experiments with a number of sub-experiments are foreseen to fulfil these objectives. Philae is operated (via ESOC) by the Lander Control Centre (LCC) at DLR and the Science Operations and Navigation Centre (SONC) at CNES. In this paper we present the flight status of the scientific instruments as it is known after in-orbit commissioning.

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