WOW - you could't have scripted a Hollywood scene any better than how Rosetta's much anticipated call to home went today. The spacecraft was to send a signal half a billion miles back to Earth between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. EST to indicate that Rosetta had awakened from a 957 day lumber - see my story from yesterday.
With each passing minute after 1:00 p.m. EST you could feel the tension building in ESA's Operations Room. All eyes including mine and almost 12,000 others watching via Livestream were glued to the monitor showing the signal from NASA's Deep Space Network antennas……a mostly flat signal that never showed the much anticipated spike until 1:18 p.m. EST.
That was when I noticed an obvious spike in the background signal which moments later ESA Ops confirmed by shouts, applause and cheers - that Rosetta had indeed woken up, aligned herself with the energy of the Sun and phoned home.
ESA will be checking the health of Rosetta and preparing her for a very busy time. We'll be following her all the way until the mission ends in December 2015.
Way to go ESA and Rosetta!
Sky Guy in Snow Warning in Effect VA