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Posts Tagged ‘Gaia’

Liftoff For Europe’s Billion-Star Surveyor

December 19, 2013 1 comment

Copyright ESA–S. Corvaja, 2013

Copyright ESA–S. Corvaja, 2013

19 December 2013 ESA PR 44-2013: ESA’s Gaia mission blasted off this morning on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on its exciting mission to study a billion suns.

Gaia is destined to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. By making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of 1% of the total population of roughly 100 billion stars, it will answer questions about the origin and evolution of our home Galaxy.

The Soyuz launcher, operated by Arianespace, lifted off at 09:12 GMT (10:12 CET). About ten minutes later, after separation of the first three stages, the Fregat upper stage ignited, delivering Gaia into a temporary parking orbit at an altitude of 175 km.

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ESA’s Billion Star Surveyor: UCL’s Contribution

December 18, 2013 Leave a comment

On Thursday 19 December at 09:12 GMT, a satellite designed to unlock the secrets of the birth and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy will be launched by the European Space Agency.

UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory has played a major part in the satellite – named Gaia – for 12 years, developing the instrument that will measure the speed, temperature, size and age of over a billion stars in our galaxy.

Gaia’s mission is to slowly scan the sky, rotating every six hours, and survey the whole sky some hundred times in its six year mission. It has two extraordinarily stable telescopes, each focussing on the same huge array of 106 electronic detectors, the biggest ever either launched into orbit or on any Earth-based telescope.

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The Gaia Mission App, Ready Before The Launch

December 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Gaia, a satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA), is launched tomorrow, 19 December. It will take a census of a billion stars to create the most complete 3D map of the Milky Way ever done. Launch is planned to occur at 10.12 a.m. (local time in mainland Spain) from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana). Scientists and engineers from the University of Barcelona (UB) have remarkably collaborated in the mission.

A group of researchers from UB, the Barcelona Team, has developed the Gaia Mission App, which allows discovering scientific and technical details of the mission and keeps users updated on satellite’s operations from 19 December. App is available in English, Spanish and Catalan.

Gaia is considered ESA’s cornerstone mission not only for its ability to revolution future astrophysics —thanks to the unprecedented accuracy of its astrometric observations—, but also for the technological challenge it means. In addition, the project constitutes the maximum exponent of a technology that places Europe in a leading position in the field of astrometry.

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Dialling Down The Heat On ESA’s Billion-Star Surveyor

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

ESA’s Gaia mission to survey a billion stars has passed a gruelling test to prove it can withstand the extreme temperatures it will experience in space when it is launched next year.

After arrival at its working position some 1.5 million km from Earth, Gaia will operate at a temperature of –110°C, shielded from the heat of the Sun by a giant shade attached to the spacecraft to keep its instruments in permanent shadow.

The focus of the most recent test was Gaia’s service module, which houses electronic units to run the science instruments, as well as the units that provide the spacecraft resources, such as thermal control, propulsion, communication, and attitude and orbit control.

Full Story: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMR69AYT6H_index_0.html