Rakon on board comet-chaser
January 2014: The spacecraft Rosetta, due to reach the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko this year, uses several frequency control components from Rakon.
Rakon crystal oscillators and crystal filters, are used in the COmet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission (CONSERT), which is designed to probe the interior of the comet by using radio waves transmitted through the nucleus between the Philae lander and Rosetta orbiter.
The scientific objectives include the following: to measure the mean dielectric properties to set constraints on the cometary composition, detect large-sized embedded structures and stratification, characterize the surface structure and electrical properties, and detect small scale irregularities within the comet. The Rosetta probe, which was launched in 2004, is on one of the most technologically advanced missions ever attempted – to land on a comet at 24,600mph!
The spaceship was sent into a slumber in June 2011 so it could save energy for its long journey to the 2.5-mile frozen rock, known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta's Philae lander will carry out several tests on the comet's surface.
The probe will rendezvous with the comet in the coming months and drop its Philae lander docks onto its icy surface in November – a move that has never been attempted before. The comet has almost no gravity, so the probe will have to use harpoons and ice anchors to clamp on to the surface. By studying the comet's dust and gas, Rosetta will help scientists learn more about the evolution of the solar system.
About the mission:
Rosetta is a robotic spacecraft built and launched by the European Space Agency to perform a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It is part of the ESA Horizon 2000 cornerstone missions and is the first mission designed to both orbit and land on a comet. Rosetta was launched in March 2004 on an Ariane 5 rocket and will reach the comet in August 2014.