ESA confirms that Philae has fired its two harpoons into the comet and reeled in.
ESA Flight Directors have confirmed that Philae has touched down on the comet and is transmitting telemetry back to Earth.
If all goes well, a spacecraft launched from Earth will land and survive on a moving comet for the first time in human history today at 11:02 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft was launched over a decade ago from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. During this long voyage, Rosetta had to make three gravitational sling shot maneuvers around the Earth and one around Mars to gain enough speed to catch up with Comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Rosetta neared the icy comet on August 6, 2014. After several months of maneuvering the spacecraft into a precise orbit around the comet, Rosetta launched its Philae probe today at 4:03 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (09:03 GMT). Philae’s landing gear and antennae have been successfully deployed as the probe makes its descent. Philae should touch down on the comet about seven hours later at 11:02 p.m. EST (16:02 GMT) today.
Image Credit: ESA