Astronomy:List of missions to comets

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As of 2013, the United States , the Soviet Union, Japan , and the European Space Agency have conducted missions to comets.

Spacecraft Launch Date[1] Operator Comet Mission Outcome Remarks Carrier rocket[2]
12 August 1978 NASA
United States / ESA
21P/Giacobini–Zinner Flyby Successful Extended mission; Closest approach of 7,862 kilometres (4,885 mi) at 11:02 UTC on 11 September 1985. Also made distant observations of 1P/Halley in May 1986.[3] Delta 2914
Vega 1
(5VK No.901)
15 December 1984 Soviet Union 1P/Halley Flyby Successful Flew past Halley after visiting Venus; closest approach 8,889 kilometres (5,523 mi) at 07:20:06 UTC on 6 March 1986.[4] Proton-K/D-1
Vega 2
(5VK No.902)
21 December 1984 Soviet Union 1P/Halley Flyby Successful Flew past Halley after visiting Venus; closest approach at 07:20 UTC on 9 March 1986.[5] Proton-K/D-1
7 January 1985 ISAS
1P/Halley Flyby Successful Closest approach of 6.99 million kilometres (4.34 million miles) at 04:18 UTC on 11 March 1986.[6] Mu-3S-II
Giotto 2 July 1985 ESA 1P/Halley Flyby Successful Closest approach of 605 kilometres (376 mi) at 00:03:02 UTC on 14 March 1986.[7] Ariane 1
26P/Grigg–Skjellerup Flyby Successful Extended mission. Closest approach of 200 kilometres (120 mi) at 15:30 UTC on 10 July 1992.[7]
19 August 1985 ISAS
1P/Halley Flyby Successful Closest approach of 152,400 kilometres (94,700 mi) at 13:06 UTC on 8 March 1986[8] Mu-3S-II
21P/Giacobini–Zinner Flyby Spacecraft failure
(Extended mission)
Extended mission, spacecraft ran out of fuel en route; flyby had been scheduled for 24 November 1998[8]
Deep Space 1 24 October 1998 NASA
United States
107P/Wilson–Harrington[9] Flyby Spacecraft failure Spacecraft was unable to reach Wilson–Harrington due to ion engine operation being suspended while a problem with the probe's star tracker was investigated.[10] Delta II 7326
19P/Borrelly Flyby Successful Extended mission
(Discovery 4)
7 February 1999 NASA
United States
81P/Wild Flyby Successful Delta II 7426
Sample return Successful
9P/Tempel Flyby Successful Extended mission, Stardust-NExT, to survey crater caused by Deep Impact
(Discovery 6)
3 July 2002 NASA
United States
2P/Encke Flyby Spacecraft failure Delta II 7425
73P/Schwassmann–Wachmann Flyby Spacecraft failure
6P/d'Arrest Flyby Spacecraft failure Flyby provisionally scheduled at time of spacecraft's failure
Rosetta 2 March 2004 ESA 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Orbiter Successful Entered orbit around 67P at 09:06 UTC on 6 August 2014. On 30 September 2016 mission ended in an attempt to slow land on the comet's surface near a 130 m (425 ft) wide pit called Deir el-Medina. Ariane 5G+
Philae 2 March 2004 ESA / DLR
67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Lander Successful Carried by Rosetta. Came to rest on the surface of 67P at 17:32 UTC on 12 November 2014. Communications ceased with the loss of battery power at 00:36 UTC on 15 November 2014 and the lander began hibernating. Reactivated on solar power and briefly established contact with ground control again at 20:28 UTC on 13 June 2015, and sporadically until 9 July 2015 when the last communication was received.[11][12] Ariane 5G+
Deep Impact
(Discovery 7)
12 January 2005 NASA
United States
9P/Tempel Flyby Successful Delta II 7925
Impactor Successful Impact occurred at 05:52 UTC on 4 July 2005.
103P/Hartley Flyby Successful Extended mission (EPOXI)

See also


  1. McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. 
  2. Krebs, Gunter. "Interplanetary Probes". Gunter's Space Page. 
  3. "Solar System Exploration - ISEE-3/ICE". NASA. 
  4. "Solar System Exploration - Vega 1". NASA. 
  5. "Solar System Exploration - Vega 2". NASA. 
  6. "Solar System Exploration - Sakigake". NASA. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Solar System Exploration - Giotto". NASA. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Solar System Exploration - Suisei". NASA. 
  9. Wilson-Harrington is catalogued as both a comet and an asteroid
  10. "Solar System Exploration - Deep Space 1". NASA. 
  11. "Rosetta's lander Philae wakes up from hibernation". European Space Agency, Rosetta Blog. 14 June 2015. 
  12. Baldwin, Emily (20 July 2015). "Rosetta and Philae status update". European Space Agency.