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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Europe's Comet Lander Emerges From Its Sleep!

Philae floats in the darkness of space after being deployed by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta orbiter for a 7-hour journey to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko's surface, on November 12, 2014.
ESA / Rosetta / MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS / UPD / LAM / IAA / SSO / INTA / UPM / DASP / IDA

Rosetta's Lander Philae Wakes Up From Hibernation (Press Release)

Rosetta's lander Philae has woken up after seven months in hibernation on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The signals were received at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt at 22:28 CEST on 13 June. More than 300 data packets have been analysed by the teams at the Lander Control Center at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

"Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of -35ÂșC and has 24 Watts available," explains DLR Philae Project Manager Dr. Stephan Ulamec. "The lander is ready for operations."

For 85 seconds Philae "spoke" with its team on ground, via Rosetta, in the first contact since going into hibernation in November.

When analysing the status data it became clear that Philae also must have been awake earlier: "We have also received historical data – so far, however, the lander had not been able to contact us earlier."

Now the scientists are waiting for the next contact. There are still more than 8000 data packets in Philae’s mass memory which will give the DLR team information on what happened to the lander in the past few days on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Philae shut down on 15 November 2014 at 1:15 CET after being in operation on the comet for about 60 hours. Since 12 March 2015 the communication unit on orbiter Rosetta was turned on to listen out for the lander.

Source: European Space Agency

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Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as seen by ESA's Philae spacecraft while it heads in for a landing on the icy celestial body, on November 12, 2014.
ESA / Rosetta / Philae / ROLIS / DLR

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