The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is expected to enter orbit round the comet Wirtanen at a distance of as little as 1km during a mission in 2012 which is designed to deploy a small lander on the comet. It is hoped that samples of the Wirtanen can be taken and analysed in an on-board laboratory. Daimler-Benz Aerospace's Dornier Satellite Systems division is the prime contractor for the spacecraft, scheduled to be launched in January 2003.

Source: Flight International