Press Release

Rosetta launch postponed

By SpaceRef Editor
January 15, 2003
Filed under , ,

Arianespace and ESA have announced [14 January 2003] the postponement of the
Rosetta mission to orbit and land on comet Wirtanen. This decision and the
process for establishing a new launch date and target were elaborated upon
at a Press Briefing given by Prof. David Southwood, ESA Director of Science,
at ESA HQ, Paris this morning [15 January 2003].

Commenting on the postponement, Prof. Richard Wade, Director of Programmes
at the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council [PPARC], said,” Of
course we are very disappointed that Rosetta will not be launched in
January. I am sure the many UK scientists who have contributed to this
groundbreaking mission feel exactly the same way.

However, it’s important to remember that this is only a postponement. We are
confident that this mission will fly to an alternative but equally
interesting target to be confirmed by ESA following a thorough and rigorous
analysis of the whole situation. Given that Rosetta is the culmination of
some ten years work then another year to get things right is a worthwhile
investment. The postponement is a disappointing hiccup and although we never
wished to be in this situation we do live in a real world with real

SpaceRef staff editor.