Europe's Rosetta comet probe is due to end 31 months of deep space slumber with a wake-up call at 5 a.m. EST on Monday.
First on Rosetta's to-do list is warming up its star trackers, which are needed for navigation and positioning. Flight controllers expect that task to take about six hours.
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Next, Rosetta is programmed to fire its steering rockets to slow its once-per-minute rate of rotation and tweak its orientation so that its solar arrays are facing directly at the sun.
After activating its star-trackers and determining its position, Rosetta will then turn on its transmitter, point its main radio antenna toward Earth and send a signal. Because it is so far away - more than 500 million miles - the signal, moving at the speed of light, will take 45 minutes to reach Earth.
The first opportunity for ground control teams to detect the transmission will be between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. EST.
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