Rosetta Space Probe Lands on Comet after Ten Years of Travel for the First Time in Space History

FAULHABER DC motors designed the Philae lander unit to help it firmly anchor onto the comet.

Micromo, a member of the FAULHABER Group, is proud to announce the Rosetta space probe landed on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014.

The probe travelled for more than ten years through outer space.

At the end of May, the Rosetta space probe moved into an orbit around the comet, in order to map its surface and prepare for the landing of Philae.

The probe, powered by FAULHABER DC motors, ensured a secure landing for the ballistic lander, weighing 100kg on the comet, which has never been performed before.

Finding a suitable place to land was carried out on the basis of high-resolution images of the comet’s surface. However, these only became available when Rosetta was a few kilometers from the comet.

There is also little known about the exact composition of the surface of the comet, as ice, dust, fissures and craggy structures factored into the landing.

FAULHABER DC motors designed the Philae lander unit to help it firmly anchor onto the comet. One of the greatest challenges for the company was the minimum gravity affecting 67P.

The company designed the probe to weigh only a few grams, preventing any risks of breakage upon landing, and to prevent Philae from bouncing off the planet again.

A special anchor system was also developed to find firm footing on the surface and ensure this footing throughout the entire duration of the mission.

Immediately after contacting the ground upon landing, two harpoons were shot by a propellant charge into the surface of the comet. The harpoons were then drawn taut using two cable winches, each one driven by a FAULHABER motor to secure the lander.

FAULHABER’s expertise extends to applications in outer space, and the harpoons and other systems of the lander were equipped with the company’s drives.

FAULHABER DC motors were essential for the instruments and experimental facility of Philae to investigate the structure and composition of the comet surface. As a result, valuable insights into the origin and evolution of our solar system will be achieved through the mission.

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