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Space

ESA mulls blasting Rosette probe with Russian launch vehicle

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Paris, Feb 29, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- Following two failures to lift 
off an Arianne-5 launch vehicle with the Rosette probe under a flight 
program to discover the secrets of the Churyumov-Geramisenko comet, 
the European Space Agency (ESA) is mulling over putting the probe into
orbit with, among other versions, a Russian Proton carrier. 
A tile of the protective coating of the main engine stage 
separated in the Arianne-5 missile. This could happen during 
replacement of fuel after the first abortive attempt on launching 
on the night of February 24, ESA specialists reported. 
The missile was removed from the launch pad and is now at the 
assembly shed of the Courou cosmodrome in French Guiana. A launch with
a departed tile could have put into jeopardy the launch vehicle and 
resulted in an explosion of its main engine, specialists claimed. 
The third attempt at lifting off for Arianne-5 is expected to be 
made on March 2. The probe is to come closer to the 
Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet and to land a descent module on its 
surface to study the chemical content of the comet`s core. 
But the two Arianne-5 failures prompted ESA specialists to look 
for other versions, including the Russian Proton carrier. 
The failures notwithstanding, Arianne-5 has still a chance to 
undertake seven fire-offs since the calculated trajectory fits into 
time limits before March 18. The comet now is in Jupiter`s orbit and 
travels at a speed of 100,000 kilometers per hour. Rosette is to reach
the comet precisely at this point of the solar system exactly a decade
later. 
/LS/210 
End 



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