Chelmsford’s involvement in Rosetta

Computer generated image of Rosetta

Computer generated image of Rosetta

The UK Deputy Prime Minister congratulated one of the Chelmsford companies involved in developing key equipment for the successful Rosetta mission.

On Thursday, November 13 the Deputy PM @DPMoffice tweeted
Huge congratulations to @e2v in Chelmsford, who’ve been part of history on #Rosetta mission #spacehistory #RGF @spacegovuk

e2v developed the specialized sensors on which both Rosetta and Philae depend.

On Rosetta:
• OSIRIS – the high resolution imaging camera. It has a narrow field and wide field camera.
• NAVCAM – the navigation camera.
• VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) – which maps and studies the nature of the solids and the temperature on the surface of the comet. It also identifies gases, characterizes the physical conditions of the comet and has helped to identify the best landing site (e2v’s devices are in the visible element of this instrument).

On Philae:
• ÇIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) – six identical micro-cameras take panoramic pictures of the surface of the comet. A spectrometer studies the composition, texture and albedo (reflectivity) of samples collected from the surface.
• ROLIS (Rosetta Lander Imaging System) – a CCD camera used to obtain high-resolution images during the descent of the lander and take stereo panoramic images of areas sampled by other instruments.

Read the e2v announcement at

e2v was not the only Chelmsford company involved in Rosetta, the Intermediate Frequency Modem System (IFMS) was developed by BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre in Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex

Watch IFMS: The Interplanetary Smartphone Supporting the Rosetta Mission

A number of radio amateurs work at both companies.

Radio amateurs have been listening to Rosetta’s signal on 8421.7869 MHz since January 2014 when it was 805 million km away from Earth, see

Chelmsford Amateur Radio Skills Night Monday November 17

Deep sleep in deep space for Europe’s comet chaser

Artist's impression of the Rosetta Spacecraft. Credit: ESA - C. Carreau

Artist's impression of the Rosetta Spacecraft (Credit: ESA - C. Carreau)

Rosetta’s hibernation mode starts today (8th June 2011) and will last until January 2014, during which time the spacecraft will reach its maximum distances from the Sun (about 800 million kilometres) and Earth (about 1000 million kilometres). UK scientists and engineers involved in this exciting mission are hoping Rosetta will unlock the hidden secrets of comets and teach us more about the origin of these huge, dirty snowballs.

Rosetta’s primary mission hasn’t even started yet but since the launch in 2004 it has been on a non-stop cosmic ‘road-trip’ Continue reading