The Rosetta comet rendezvous will happen on Wednesday and the European Space Agency will live stream the event from its headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, beginning at 4 a.m. EDT. ESA will complete a thruster fire an hour before the live stream to position Rosetta around comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
The Rosetta rendezvous starts with a quick engine thrust but the spacecraft will begin a triangular path around the comet, each leg will take three to four days to complete and is about 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) in length, reports ESA.
Rosetta was first launched in March 2004 and was put into hibernation in June 2011. ESA woke the spacecraft up in January 2014 to complete its primary object -- chase down and orbit a comet. Wednesday's rendezvous required months of planning, as Rosetta will perform each task automatically.
Speaking about the mission, Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor said in an interview with International Business Times: "For the rendezvous event itself, the team at ESOC in Germany, where mission operations are located, are the ones in full control. They will monitor the spacecraft tomorrow to make sure everything goes well. All operations of the spacecraft are checked and maneuvers even more so. Any out of specification items tomorrow need to be addressed quickly. This has a ripple effect, as the instrument commanding and trajectories have been pre-commanded, so any change in that will impact the observations schedule."
On Sunday, ESA performed a burn to reduce the velocity of Rosetta prior to Wednesday. Once Rosetta arrives at the comet, the ESA team will perform thruster burns twice a week, on Sunday and Wednesday, until the end of the mission. Rosetta's mission is not complete when it reaches the comet as ESA will place a lander, Philae, on comet 67P in November and the spacecraft will travel with the comet as it makes its journey around the sun.
The Rosetta rendezvous live stream begins at 4 a.m. EDT and can be viewed below.