Press Release

Rosetta Mission Postponed

By SpaceRef Editor
January 15, 2003
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Rosetta Mission Postponed

Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) have announced the postponement of the Rosetta mission after considering the conclusions offered by the missions Review Board. The Board was set up to advise on the launch of Rosetta in the wake of the recent problems with the Ariane 5 launcher.

The Board recommended that Arianespace and its partners ensure that all Ariane 5 system qualification and review processes are thoroughly checked before the launchers flights resume.

This postponement means that Rosetta will be unable to utilise the small window of opportunity available to catch comet Wirtanen. ESA have now set a target of approximately 30 months for the new launch date, as researchers for the project select a new potential target from five or six different comets. ESA will present the Science Programme Committee with the alternative options and their implications at the end of February.

Dr Colin Hicks, Director General of BNSC said: “I am sure that ESA will very quickly identify another good rendezvous with a comet by which Rosetta can help us explore the origins of the solar system.”

Although this enforced delay is disappointing it is hoped that the Rosetta mission can still accomplish its ultimate goal to investigate comets and search for information on the origins of our solar system.

SpaceRef staff editor.