The spacecraft successfully executed the 5th thruster burn, in a series of 10, on Wednesday 2 July. The objective of this series of mid-course corrections is to bring the vehicle to a miss-distance of around 100 km with a relative speed of about 1.5 m/s ('walking pace') prior to orbit insertion. On the day following the manoeuvre, 3 July, the spacecraft was approximately 43,000 km from its cometary target.
On Monday 14 July at a range of 12,000 km Rosetta's narrow angle camera captured a sequence of images of the comet's nucleus, which have been enhanced and smoothed into a movie showing its shape and rotation - see video below. Using this data, the rotation period of Comet C-G has been estimated to be about 12.4 hours. In terms of shape, the media have latched onto the idea that the nucleus bears a striking resemblancc to a rubber duck, so that it could be that it will acquire the unfortunate tag of the 'rubber duck comet'. The exotic shape, and relatively rapid rotation rate are, no doubt, the first of many interesting and surprising features of the mission.
The objective of the mission controllers is to bring the spacecraft to an orbit around the comet initially with a radius of around 70 km, and then to reduce this to about 30 km once the comet's gravity field has been quantified. The current shape and rotation data will make the landing operation in November an interesting and challenging exercise.