Successful landing on comet surface
On 12 November 2014, Rosetta, a space probe from the European Space Agency, successfully deployed the Philae lander on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is the first time in the history of comet research that a landing has been made on a comet’s surface. HUBER+SUHNER supplied various cable assemblies for this space probe and its lander.
For the European Space Agency, 12 November 2014 was a day of rejoicing. Their Rosetta mission celebrated a great success. After a 10-year journey, the Rosetta space probe entered the orbit of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014, and has accompanied it ever since. On 12 November, Rosetta deployed the Philae lander onto the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is the first time that a comet landing has ever been made.
Philae is a small autonomous probe that will be active on the comet. During this time, it will collect information about the comet’s core and environment. The comet is approaching the sun, which is causing it to lose material, mainly in the form of water ice and dust. The scientists want to examine how exactly the comet is changed by the warmth of the sun. The 100 kilogram Philae houses ten devices, including cameras, sensors and antennas. Using these devices, scientists can analyse the chemical composition of the comet and receive pictures from the surface. For the radio frequency connections in the transmitting and receiving antennas, as well as the antennas in the space probe and the lander, HUBER+SUHNER delivered 50 cable assemblies more than 10 years ago. They are used for signal transmission. Before the cables could be used, they had to pass special tests. The lightweight cables offer excellent mechanical and electrical stability. This is especially important in environments with extreme external conditions, as is the case with the space probe.
With the successful landing of Philae, ESA has achieved a milestone in comet research. A landing has never before been made on a comet’s surface. However, that is not the only special aspect to the mission. Thus far, no space probe has ever accompanied a comet, approached it, and observed it for months from a short distance. With our cable assemblies for aerospace applications, HUBER+SUHNER has also played a part in the success of the mission.