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Rosetta spacecraft is now orbiting a comet 249 million miles away

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A first for space exploration

The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft made contact with the comet 67P/CG, 10 years after being launched from French Guiana. This morning, it executed a "close approach trajectory insertion," placing it within the gravitational pull of the comet.

The entire burn process lasted about six minutes and 26 seconds, and marks the first leg of a series of three-legged triangular paths about the comet, each of which will take about three to four days. Due to its distance from Earth, mission controllers from the agency needed to wait about 22 minutes before they could tell if the procedure had succeeded. If all goes well, Rosetta will then deploy the Philae lander in November. The European Space Agency put up a live webcast earlier to allow the curious to watch as the Rosetta closed in on the target.

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Update August 6th, 05:29AM: "We're at the comet," declared one of the Rosetta Flight Control team members.