History is made as first ever probe – transported by Stevenage made spacecraft – lands on comet

Rod Emery, Alan Haigh, Phil Mcgoldrick, Kevin Tomkins, Andy Robson, Colin Upjohn, Paul Mcmahon, Stev

Rod Emery, Alan Haigh, Phil Mcgoldrick, Kevin Tomkins, Andy Robson, Colin Upjohn, Paul Mcmahon, Steve Puttrell, Andy Jones, John O'Keeffe and Dave Welthy, all involved with the mission - Credit: Archant

History was made today when a probe from a Stevenage made spacecraft landed on a comet.

Viewers applaud the landing

Viewers applaud the landing - Credit: Archant

The Rosetta’s Philae lander touched down on the comet, travelling at 135,000 kmpm, at 4.03pm.

Around seven hours before the lander had detached from the Rosetta spacecraft – which was developed and built for the European Space Agency by Airbus Defence and Space on Gunnels Wood Road in Stevenage.

François Auque, head of Space Systems at the site, said: “Philae’s successful landing tops off an already spectacular Rosetta mission. We at Airbus Defence and Space are extremely proud to have contributed to the Rosetta success story with our innovative concepts and designs, robust and reliable systems, and the dedicated work of employees both at Airbus Defence and Space and at all the other partners in the industrial consortium and ESA.

“This is a world first – landing on a comet travelling at 135,000 km per hour after a 10-year journey through our solar system, it is a truly amazing achievement.”


You may also want to watch:


Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs some 40,000 employees, around 2,000 of which work at the Stevenage site, and generates revenues of approximately €14 billion per year.

Clink the link at the side of the page to see a gallery of photos from the day.

Most Read

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter