50 years of FORAN in continuous reinvention - December 2014 - No. 48 /Up-to-Date

Rosetta, fist mission to rendezvous with a comet

Rosetta probe. ©ESA

Rosetta probe. ©ESA

The Rosetta probe is a pioneering project from the European Space Agency (ESA), the first to accomplish a rendezvous with a comet, specifically the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and to attach to its surface a robotic lander, named Philae.

In this mission, SENER has participated both in the probe’s platform and its payload. With regards to the platform, SENER supplied two deployable booms with five sensors. Their purpose is to place the sensors far to minimize the disturbance created by the spacecraft electromagnetic field. The company also produced the probe’s active thermal control system of 15 louvres, to ensure its thermal stability. The model designed by SENER for Rosetta reduces the mass and increases the capacity to dissipate heat, representing a considerable improvement compared to earlier systems. In addition, SENER was responsible for the optical screens used to attenuate incident solar radiation on the two navigation cameras and the two star trackers baffles.

In the payload, SENER has been responsible, working in collaboration with INTA and the Andalusian Astrophysics Institute (IAA), for the design and integration of the control electronics unit and the Filter Wheel Mechanism (FWM) of the two cameras of the OSIRIS instrument (Optical Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System). The company has also developed, in collaboration with the IAA, the control electronics unit for the GIADA instrument (Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator), which observes the particles in the comet’s tail.


Rosetta flight model where SENER louvres can be seen. Deployable booms developed by SENER. Louvres designed by SENER. Control electronics unit for GIADA.

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