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Old 11-09-2013, 07:51 PM   #16
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:14 AM   #17
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So Gaia will be launched into the dawn twilight on December 20 at 09:08:14 UTC (6:08 am local) - but how is the launch time be determined? Here's an Orbiter-esque explanation!

And Gaia is one of the less known astronomy spaceflight missions that I am interested in - after all my astronomy hobby starts with reading about the various famous stars, and thus I have interest in the comparison of the parameters of stars (e.g. is Betelgeuse more powerful than Antares? Is Deneb one of the "hypergiants" or not? Are there stars even bigger than VV Cephei? Which stars belongs to a certain star cluster? How many "Sun-twins" are there? How about the O-class super-stars of the galaxy? ......). So the star catalog this mission produces will be of high interest to me!
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:12 AM   #18
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Default Arianespace Flight VS06:Soyuz ST-B - Gaia:December 19, 2013


Arianespace Vol VS06 Soyuz ST-B - Gaia
Lancement le jeudi 19 décembre 2013
Compte tenu du bon déroulement des opérations de vérification sur le satellite Gaia, Arianespace en accord avec l’ESA, est en mesure d’annoncer la date de son prochain lancement.
Le décollage du lanceur Soyuz ST-B est prévu le jeudi 19 décembre 2013, à exactement :
09:12:18 (UTC)
06:12:18 (Heure de Guyane)
10:12:18 (Heure de Paris)
04:12:18 (Heure de Washington DC)
12:12:18 (Heure de Moscou)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arianespace Flight VS06 Soyuz ST-B - Gaia
Launch set for Thursday, December 19, 2013
Evry, November 22, 2013. The checks on the Gaia satellite are proceeding nominally, enabling Arianespace in agreement with ESA to announce the launch date. Liftoff of the Soyuz ST-B launcher is set for Thursday, December 19, at precisely:
09:12:18 am (UTC)
06:12:18 am (local time in French Guiana)
10:12:18 am (Paris)
04:12:18 am (Washington, D.C.)
12:12:18 pm (Moscow)
Follow us :
http://www.arianespace.com / http://www.arianespace.tv
https://twitter.com/arianespace / https://twitter.com/arianespaceceo
http://www.youtube.com/arianespace / http://www.instagram.com/arianespace


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Old 11-23-2013, 01:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galactic Penguin SST View Post
 So Gaia will be launched into the dawn twilight on December 20 at 09:08:14 UTC (6:08 am local) - but how is the launch time be determined? Here's an Orbiter-esque explanation!...
Great gifs on that esa blog
How I would love to have such a 3D software to create some simple animations for my forum!
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:02 PM   #20
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http://spaceflightnow.com/soyuz/vs06/payload/
Quote:
The European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft, fueled and ready to begin a mission mapping a billion stars, was closed up inside the nose shroud of a Soyuz rocket Thursday as the probe begins its final week of launch preparations.

The spacecraft is folded up in launch configuration, standing 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) tall and 3.8 meters (12.4 feet) in diameter. Fully fueled for liftoff, Gaia weighs 4,484 pounds.

Once in space, Gaia will deploy a thermal sunshield and cruise to the L2 Lagrange point about one million miles from the night side of Earth, where its twin telescopes will scan the sky and plot the positions and movement of the billion brightest stars in the galaxy.

Liftoff from the Guiana Space Center on South America's northern coast is set for Dec. 19 at 0912:18 GMT (4:12:18 a.m. EST).
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:57 AM   #21
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From Spaceflightnow Mission Status Center

Quote:
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2013
Engineers ran through a complete countdown and launch rehearsal today for Thursday morning's launch of the European Space Agency's Gaia mission on a Soyuz rocket.

Already positioned on the launch pad in French Guiana, the Soyuz launcher and Gaia spacecraft were activated for today's rehearsal, along with ground control networks in French Guiana and Germany, which will oversee the launch sequence and the critical early operations after Gaia's deployment.

Those early milestones include the deployment of Gaia's thermal sunshield and solar arrays, and the decoupling of carbon-fiber struts connecting the probe's payload and service modules.

These activities are crucial since Gaia's instruments are sensitive to temperature. The sunshield maintains the thermal conditions for the mission's star survey campaign, and the carbon-fiber struts are required to withstand the shaking and force of launch. The carbon-fiber struts are conductors of heat, so engineers plan to explosively sever the structural connections soon after launch.

Launch remains set for 0912:19 GMT (4:12:19 a.m. EST; 6:12:19 a.m. local time) from the Guiana Space Center in South America.
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:32 PM   #22
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With the mission already introduced in earlier posts, it's time for the traditional launch overview post!







Launch location:

Kourou ELS 5°18'18"N 52°50'02"W



Launch dates and times:

Launch times
Time Zone
Australia - Sydney/AEDTMoscow / MSK/ UTC+4CEST UTC+1Universal / UTCWashington / ESTFrench Guiana / UTC-3
Launch time:
20:12:1913:12:1910:12:1909:12:1904:12:1906:12:19
on:Dec. 19, 2013Dec. 19, 2013Dec. 19, 2013Dec. 19, 2013Dec. 19, 2013Dec. 19, 2013
*Click here to restart the timer* Gaia Launch

Live Coverage

PAYLOAD

Gaia stellar observatory



Gaia (formerly GAIA for Global Astrometric Interferometer for Astrophysics, due to technology change, the transscription is no longer true) will survey more than one billion stars, including many of the closest stars to the Sun. Its goal is to make the largest, most precise map of where we live in space by surveying an unprecedented one per cent of our Galaxy's population of 100 billion stars. It will be a follow-up to the Hipparcos mission.

As its sensitive telescopes go about the job of pinpointing the stars, they are bound to make many other discoveries as well. Planets around other stars, asteroids in our Solar System, icy bodies in the outer Solar System, failed stars and far-distant exploding stars. The list of Gaia's potential discoveries makes the mission unique in scope and scientific return. Huge data bases of information will be compiled from the Gaia data, allowing astronomers to trawl the archives looking for similar celestial objects or events and other correlations that might just provide the clue necessary to solve their particular, seemingly intractable, scientific puzzle.

Gaia is a single spacecraft, consisting of three telescopes that will constantly sweep the sky, recording every visible celestial object that crosses its lines of sight. During its anticipated lifetime of five years, Gaia will observe each of its one billion sources about 100 times. Each time, it will detect changes in the object's brightness and position.

The Gaia payload comprises two `Astro' (astrometric) telescopes with a common focal plane, and a `Spectro' telescope comprising a radial velocity spectrograph and a medium-band photometer. Each of these `Astro' instruments comprises an all-reective three-mirror telescope with an aperture of 1.4 × 0.5 m² and a size of 0.65° x 0.65°, the two fields being separated by a basic angle of 106°. Each astrometric field comprises an astrometric sky mapper (ASM), the astrometric field proper (AF), and a broad-band photometer (BBP). Each sky mapper system provides an on-board capability for star detection and selection, and for the star position and satellite scan-speed measurement. The main focal plane assembly employs CCD technology, with about 180 CCDs and accompanying video chains, a pixel size 9 micormeter along scan, TDI (time-delayed integration) mode operation, and an integration time of ~1.5 s per CCD. The CCDs are designed and custom made for the Gaia programme, and cover an overall area of about 0.8 × 0.8 m². The precise `basic angle' between two viewing directions can be calibrated from the 360° closure condition on each great-circle scan, while short-term (< 3 hours) variations are passively controlled, and monitored by internal metrology.

The integrated radial velocity spectrometer and photometric instrument (`Spectro') comprises an all-reective three-mirror telescope of aperture 0.5 × 0.5 m². The field of view is separated into a dedicated sky mapper (SM), the radial velocity spectrometer (RVS), and a medium-band photometer (MBP). Both instrument focal planes are also based on CCD technology operating in TDI mode: with at least 3 large CCDs butted together for the radial velocity spectrometer; and two large CCDs, with a total of 11 medium-band lters, for the medium-band photometer.

Gaia will significantly improve on Hipparcos for a number of different reasons. For example, the collecting area of the primary mirrors means that Gaia will collect more than 30 times the light of its predecessor. More light means more sensitive and accurate measurements. Gaia will be able to measure a star's position and motion 200 times more accurately than Hipparcos. Changes in a star's position and motion are registered as tiny angles.

Highly efficient cameras, known as CCDs will be used to record the images, so wide-angle images of many celestial objects can be obtained at the same time. Devices known as photocathodes were used on Hipparcos, which meant that the satellite could only record information from a single celestial object at a time.

Gaia will be placed in an orbit around the Sun, at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers further out than Earth. This special location, known as L2, will keep pace with the orbit of the Earth. Gaia will map the stars from here. One of the principal advantages of an L2 orbit is that it offers uninterrupted observations, since the Earth, Moon and Sun remain 'behind' it all the time. Because the L2 point moves around the Sun, keeping pace with the Earth, the entire celestial sphere can be observed during the course of one year. The spacecraft must perform small manoeuvres every month, to ensure it stays at L2.

Characteristics
 
O3b
Prime contractor:
EADS Astrium
Mass at Separation:
  • 2029 kg
Stabilization:
  • 3 axis stabilized
Dimensions:
  • 4.6 m × 2.3 m
Batteries:
  • 1910 W
Life time:
  • 6 years
Instruments:
Communications:
  • S Band (TT&C support) (few kbit/s down & up)
  • X Band (data acquisition) (3-8Mbit/s download)
Orbit:
  • Sun–Earth L2
 
 
 

Launch Vehicle:

Characteristics
Soyuz-2.1b
Prime contractor:
  • Samara Space Sentre (Energia Holding enterprise)
GRAU Index:
  • 14A14
Height:
51.1 m
Diameter:
max 10.3 m
Liftoff mass:
313 metric tonnes
Payload mass:
up to 7835 kg (a launch to LEO from Plesetsk)
1st stage (boosters B, V, G, D):
  • 4 X RD-107 engines
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum - / 320.2 s
  • Thrust/ISP at sea level 85.6 tonnes / 263.3 s
2nd stage (core A):
  • 1 X RD-108 engine
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum 94 tonnes / 320.6 s
  • Thrust/ISP at sea level 80.8 tonnes / 257.7 s
3rd stage (block I):
  • 1 X RD-0124 engine
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum 30.00 tonnes / 359 s
Upper Stage:
  • GRAU Index: -
  • Common Name: Fregat (meaning Frigate)
  • Designer & Manufacturer: Lavochkin Association (NPO)
  • Dimensions: Length 2.4 m, Diameter (max) 3.350 m
  • Empty Mass 930 kg
  • Propellants 5250 kg max
  • Main Engine: 1 X S5.92
  • Thrust in vacuum 2.0 tonnes of force (full power)
  • Thrust in vacuum 1.4 tonnes of force (small power)
  • ISP 333.2 s
Payload Fairing:
  • Diameter 3.7 m
  • Length 7.7 m


The launch vehicle's reliability standings (according to http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/log2013.html#rate):

Code:
================================================================ 
Vehicle     Successes/Tries Realzd Pred  Consc. Last     Dates    
                             Rate  Rate* Succes Fail    
================================================================
Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat 9    10    .90  .83      3    12/23/11 2006-
Ascent profile





Weather Forecast for Sinnamary, French Guiana on December 19, 2013 (6 a.m.)

Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High near 27C. Winds NE at 15 to 25 kmh.

TimeTempsDew PointRelative HumidityPrecipSnowCloud coverPressureWindWeather
5 AM24°C22°C88%20%0%81%1008 hPa16 km/h NE Overcast

References
http://www.arianespace.com
http://http://sci.esa.int/gaia/
http://blogs.esa.int/gaia/
http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/gaia.htm
http://www.csgpreparationlancement.com/
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru
http://astronautique.actifforum.com
http://www.spacelaunchreport.com
www.russianspacweb.com
http://www.samspace.ru
http://www.laspace.ru
http://english.wunderground.com/q/zmw:00000.3.81403
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:02 AM   #23
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Well the launch has occurred.....and as expected there were no problems with the launch. Oh my - the "kerosene jellyfish" was absolutely stunning!

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Old 12-19-2013, 10:13 AM   #24
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SPARKLES!

---------- Post added at 11:13 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:08 AM ----------

Also: AOS of Gaias signals has been confirmed by Perth, its in space and healthy.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:29 PM   #25
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Found this great animation of Gaia reaching L2:

Only if ESA would add sound to these videos
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:32 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unstung View Post
 Found this great animation of Gaia reaching L2:
Gaia: launch to orbit - YouTube
Only if ESA would add sound to these videos
Sound in space????

Now to something complete different: The german ESA press release described the L2 as the point where the gravity of Sun and Earth neutralize each other...
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:49 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Urwumpe View Post
 Now to something complete different: The german ESA press release described the L2 as the point where the gravity of Sun and Earth neutralize each other...
That's why during new moon tides are so weak: The gravity of the Moon and Sun cancel out each other!
Wait, these tides are the strongest? What's next, plane wings don't actually need to be curved to generate lift? Madness...
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:58 PM   #28
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The guy responsible for the press release will have to light the fuse of the Ariane 5 with a pack of wet matches during the next launch, don't worry.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:22 PM   #29
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It's Kourou. Of course they're wet. Everything get's wet there.

Which reminds me how nearly no space center is built in "moderate climate". Baikonur has nice snowstorms, the Cape has nice hurricanes, Kourou is in the tropics with nearly daily rain...
I schould definitley learn more about the Chinese launch infrastructure.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:26 PM   #30
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The advantage of Kourou - almost constant weather. Constantly wet and hot.
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