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 -35?C 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
Since March 2015, when Philae’s environmental conditions started to improve with higher surface temperatures and better illumination, the orbiter’s receiver had been turned on periodically to listen for signals from the lander when the orbital geometry was thought to be optimum.
On the evening of 13 June, a weak but solid radio link between Rosetta and the lander was finally established for 85 seconds. More than 300 ‘packets’ – 663 kbits – of lander housekeeping telemetry were received. This information had been stored on board at an as-yet-to-be determined time in the past, as much as several days to a few weeks, so does not necessarily reflect the lander’s current status.Rosetta then relayed the signal to ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany, at 20:28 GMT