Updates ESA GAIA mission updates

RisingFury

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There are quite a few missions planned for L2 in the near future... we're gonna need collision avoidance systems up there pretty soon :p


Edit: Is that the mission that measures distance of objects using parallax? Man... that thing is precise...
 

Notebook

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TNO Science and Industry and the Leibniz Institute of Surface Modification (IOM) are developing processes for finishing strongly curved off axis parabolic SiC mirrors. The mirrors form a crucial part of the cryogenic fibre collimators for the Gaia Basic Angle Monitoring Opto-Mechanical Assembly (BAM OMA).


The Gaia BAM OMA is a double Michelson interferometer which measures the basic angle between the two telescopes with an accuracy of better than 0.5 microarcseconds. The Gaia BAM OMA consists of two SiC optical benches with fibre collimators, beam splitters and a large number of folding mirrors.

Well, that makes it clear;)

Plasma and mirrors, you'd think they wouldn't mix?
http://www.rssd.esa.int/index.php?project=Gaia&page=picture_of_the_week

N.
 

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ESA:
Gaia’s instruments installed and ready for testing

17 September 2012

The payload module of ESA’s billion-star surveyor Gaia is integrated and ready for the next stage of rigorous testing it must undergo before launch next year.

Once in space, Gaia will make precise measurements of the positions and motions of a billion stars. The information will be used to create a 3D map of stars in our home Galaxy, the Milky Way, revealing information about its composition, formation and evolution.

[table="head;width=300"]
Click on image to enlarge​



Fully integrated Gaia payload module with nearly all of the multilayer insulation fabric installed. Nearest to the camera, the rear of one of the primary mirrors and one of the tertiary mirrors are visible. Beneath the tertiary (smaller) mirror, the Radial Velocity Spectrometer can be seen. To the right is the Focal Plane Assembly with its charge-coupled device sensors (blue). The focal plane array, with a total of almost a billion pixels, is the largest ever developed. The integration was carried out at Astrium, Toulouse.
Credits: Astrium SAS​
[/table]​


This latest image shows the payload module in the Astrium cleanroom in Toulouse, France.

The module is covered in grey and silver multilayer insulation fabric that protects the spacecraft’s optics and mirrors from the cold environment of space.

Nearest to the camera, the rear of one of Gaia’s main telescope mirrors and one of the tertiary mirrors are visible. The second main mirror is just visible towards the back left of the image.

The blue panel seen below and to the right of the image is the Focal Plane Assembly with its charge-coupled device sensors.

This focal plane array will carry the largest digital camera ever built, with nearly a billion pixels.

The integration process included the Radial Velocity Spectrometer (seen below the smaller mirror), which will help to measure the motions of stars, and the Basic Angle Monitor, which will ensure that the separation angle between the two telescopes is monitored in order to make precise distance measurements of stars. All of the optical components were also carefully aligned.

The payload module will be mated to the service module, which houses units that provide resources such as thermal control, propulsion, communication, and attitude and orbit control, at the beginning of next year.

Gaia will be launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana at the end of 2013.

{...}
 

ADSWNJ

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What an awesome project. That's some major solid-state imaging array!
 

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May this mighty descendant of the Almighty Probe travel swiftly, with accuracy and precision. May all its parts be designed well, and be crafted within acceptable tolerances. HAIL PROBE! :hailprobe:
 

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ESA: Gaia launch postponed:
22 October 2013

Due to recently-discovered technical issues, ESA has decided to perform additional verifications on its Gaia satellite, and therefore we have requested that Arianespace postpone the Gaia launch, currently scheduled for November 20, 2013.

A new launch date will be announced as soon as the availability of the satellite is confirmed.
 

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ESA: Gaia launch postponement update:
23 October 2013

Yesterday, the decision was taken to postpone the launch of ESA’s Gaia mission after a technical issue was identified in another satellite already in orbit.

Gaia shares some of the components involved in this technical issue and prompt notification of this problem has allowed engineers working on the final preparations for Gaia’s launch to take additional precautionary measures.

The issue concerns components used in two transponders on Gaia that generate ‘timing signals’ for downlinking the science telemetry. To avoid potential problems, they will be replaced.

The transponders will be removed from Gaia at Kourou and returned to Europe, where the potentially faulty components will be replaced and verified. After the replacements have been made, the transponders will be refitted to Gaia and a final verification test made.

As a consequence of these precautionary measures, it will not be possible to launch Gaia within the window that includes the previously targeted launch date of 20 November.

The next available launch window is 17 December to 5 January 2014.

More details will be given as soon as they are available. The new launch date will be announced when the timeline for completing the additional work has been confirmed and the overall launch manifest of Arianespace has been established.

{...}

EADS Astrium: From Hipparcos to Gaia

Flightglobal: Electronics concerns delay Gaia launch

Space News: Component Alert Forces ESA To Postpone Gaia Launch

Phys.org: Gaia launch postponement update

Spaceflight Now: Launch of Gaia galaxy survey probe slips to late December

AmericaSpace: Ambitious Gaia Billion-Object Astronomy Mission Delayed Until NET Mid-December
 

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Arianespace: Arianespace launches VA216 and VS06 scheduled respectively for December 6 and 20:
Evry, October 29, 2013

To allow the Gaia program to carry out additional checks on its satellite, Arianespace has switched the order of its two upcoming launches, with full agreement of its customers, moving the Ariane 5 ECA mission for SES and Hispasat ahead of the Soyuz launch for ESA.

Arianespace is now able to announce the planned dates of its next two launches, thanks to the combined efforts of the teams in charge of preparing the Gaia, ASTRA 5B and AMAZONAS 4A satellites, the teams in charge of the Ariane 5 and Soyuz launchers and the staff at the Guiana Space Center, CNES in particular, responsible for optimizing launch preparations:
  • VA216 – Ariane 5 ECA – Astra 5B and Amazonas 4A – December 6

  • [highlight]VS06 – Soyuz – Gaia – December 20[/highlight]

{...}

Space News: Next Ariane 5 To Launch a Week Early To Allow Mid-December Launch of ESA’s Star-mapping Gaia Craft
 

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ESA:
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLjFCrz-j_w"]Gaia technology - YouTube[/ame]
 

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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! :tiphat:

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! :thumbup:
 

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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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http://spaceflightnow.com/soyuz/vs06/payload/
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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