Author Topic: ESA - LISA Pathfinder updates  (Read 31800 times)

Offline bolun

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ESA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« on: 11/27/2010 10:19 PM »
The Mission:

LISA Pathfinder will pave the way for the LISA mission by testing in flight the very concept of the gravitational wave detection: it will put two test masses in a near-perfect gravitational free-fall and control and measure their motion with unprecedented accuracy. This is achieved through state-of-the-art technology comprising the inertial sensors, the laser metrology system, the drag-free control system and an ultra-precise micro-propulsion system.

Launch Date: 2015 
Mission End: The operational phase will last about 12 months
Launch Vehicle: Vega launcher
Launch Mass: 1900 kg
Mission Phase: Implementation
 
Orbit: Operational orbit is a Halo orbit around the first Earth-Sun Lagrange point (L1) after a transfer trajectory from a low Earth parking orbit
Objetives: LISA Pathfinder is to demonstrate the key technologies to be used in the future LISA mission

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=40

Edit: Launch date updated.
« Last Edit: 10/07/2016 01:29 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #2 on: 10/28/2011 01:51 PM »
http://www.arianespace.com/news-press-release/2011/10-28-2011-vega-contract.asp

Quote
Studies under way for the LISA Pathfinder mission

The studies for the launch of the LISA Pathfinder scientific satellite of ESA, using a Vega launcher from the Verta batch, started at the end of September. The mission is scheduled for a launch window from October 2013 to September 2014.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #3 on: 11/14/2011 07:34 PM »
LISA Pathfinder takes major step in hunt for gravity waves
 
14 November 2011

Sensors destined for ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission in 2014 have far exceeded expectations, paving the way for a mission to detect one of the most elusive forces permeating through space – gravity waves.
 
The Optical Metrology Subsystem underwent its first full tests under space-like temperature and vacuum conditions using an almost complete version of the spacecraft.

The results exceeded the precision required to detect the enigmatic ripples in the fabric of space and time predicted by Albert Einstein – and did it by two to three times.

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMX61WWVUG_index_0.html

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #4 on: 06/11/2013 03:35 PM »
Paving the way for the world’s first gravitational wave detector

6 Jun 2013

New space technology vital for detecting the elusive phenomenon of gravitational waves is now ready to endure the tremendous forces of a rocket launch, after passing vital tests right here in the UK.

The new technology is the optical bench of the LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) Pathfinder mission – a spacecraft that aims to prove essential key technologies for future gravitational-wave observatories, such as the proposed LISA mission.

Built and tested at the Institute for Gravitational Research (IGR) at the University of Glasgow, the optical bench has now been shipped to Astrium in Germany for integration with the rest of the Science Module.

LISA Pathfinder could pave the way to a completely new ‘view’ of the Universe, complementing our understanding of its evolution. The mission aims to demonstrate the new technology needed for future gravitational-wave observatories to trace the formation, growth, and merger history of massive black holes. This new information could tell us more about the way space and time are interconnected.

http://www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/news-and-events/2013/Jun/paving-the-way-for-the-worlds-first-gravitational-wave-detector


Image credit: Paul Gavin/IGR/AEI/Milde Science Communication.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2013 03:36 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #5 on: 07/10/2013 08:36 PM »
Latest LISA Pathfinder hardware delivery is 'Jewel in the Crown'

24 June 2013

A team of scientists from the University of Glasgow has successfully delivered a significant milestone for LISA Pathfinder - the flight optical bench. This glittering piece of hardware has very demanding requirements; tests have shown that these have been exceeded. Following formal delivery to Astrium GmbH, on 21 June, the optical bench is ready for integration onto the LISA Technology Package (LTP).

http://sci.esa.int/lisa-pathfinder/51961-latest-lisa-pathfinder-hardware-delivery-is-jewel-in-the-crown/

Image credit: University of Glasgow and University of Birmingham

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #6 on: 12/16/2013 08:08 PM »
Inertial Sensor Head shaken but not disturbed

12 December 2013 12:12

The Engineering Qualification Model of the Inertial Sensor Head (ISH) for LISA Pathfinder has passed a significant milestone. The integration of all the components of the ISH with perfect alignment, and the successful completion of qualification tests mark the first time that a heavy test mass inertial sensor has been assembled and successfully tested.

http://sci.esa.int/lisa-pathfinder/53349-inertial-sensor-head-shaken-but-not-disturbed/

Image credit: RUAG & CGS

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #7 on: 01/02/2015 07:59 PM »
http://www.esa.int/About_Us/ESA_Publications/ESA_Publications_Bulletin/ESA_Bulletin_160_Nov_2014

From ESA Bulletin 160 (page 68)

Quote
LISA PATHFINDER

The Science Module was retrofitted with three new side-panels onto which the cold-gas micro-propulsion equipment had been integrated. Functional verification of the spacecraft is progressing as planned, with the completed version of the flight software and using the FM microthrusters driving electronics. LISA Pathfinder carries two sets of six cold-gas thrusters; the first set is in acceptance testing, whereas the second redundant set is being manufactured. Both the micro-Newton thrust force and thesub-micro-Newton thrust force noise have been confirmed in a dedicated facility by Onera (FR).

Acceptance testing of the two FM Inertial Sensor Heads (ISH) has been completed. The testing campaign included bi-polar discharge of the test mass by means of ultraviolet light, contacting, photoelectric effect. In orbit,  though, the discharge process will be without physical contact between the test mass and its surrounding electrodes. Thus, the ground verification requires novel modelling techniques. The ISH FMs will now be integrated on the LISA Pathfinder Core Assembly (LCA). The LCA includes an optical interferometry ultra-stable bench on its support frame, the two ISH, diagnostics equipment and support equipment. The LCA integration has advanced to the point where the next step is the integration of the ISH.

The launch vehicle will be Vega, on one of the VERTA launches. The lessons learnt from the first Vega launches are being closely monitored to confirm the compatibility with the mission and spacecraft. Considering the approaching launch date, activities by the launcher authority, ESAC and ESOC are running at full pace.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #8 on: 03/02/2015 11:26 AM »
Lisa Pathfinder: 'Exquisite' gravity probe leaves UK

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31642215

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #9 on: 03/12/2015 08:30 AM »
Optical bench of LISA Pathfinder

An intimate view of a key part of the payload of ESA’s LISA Pathfinder satellite, which will be the ‘stillest’ ever flown in space – in fact, the distant-orbiting spacecraft is set to become the single most stable place in the Solar System.

These transparent ‘gravestones’ are made of fused silica glass, used to split then recombine a pair of laser beams. The glass elements are aligned down to a few thousands of a millimetre onto the supporting optical bench, made from ultra-low expansion Zerodur glass.

This laser system will measure the very slightest movements of a pair of gold–platinum test masses, right down to subatomic scale precision.

One test mass is placed inside a ‘capacitive sensing’ housing within the cylinder behind the optical bench, visible in the picture, and the other will be in an identical cylinder due to be placed ahead of it.

In space, these test masses will float freely within the spacecraft, which will manoeuvre itself to keep them away from the housing walls.

The aim is to allow the test masses to be subject only to the underlying force of gravity, mapping the very slight curvature of local space-time.

When LISA Pathfinder is launched on a Vega rocket at the end of September, it will fly more than 1.5 million km from Earth to orbit the first Sun–Earth Lagrange Point (L1).

This position will enable the spacecraft to minimise the effects of external perturbations. In addition, the spacecraft itself actively compensates for other forces acting upon it – even firing micronewton thrusters to compensate for the tiny but significant ‘push’ of sunshine.

The optical bench seen here was developed for ESA by the University of Glasgow and University of Birmingham in the UK. The cylinder containing the test mass was developed by CGS in Milano and the integration is now taking place at Airbus Defence and Space in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

LISA Pathfinder is intended to prove the technologies needed for an even more ambitious mission in future: a laser-linked multispacecraft constellation to observe gravitational waves in space.

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2015/03/Optical_bench_of_LISA_Pathfinder

Image credit: Airbus Defence and Space

Online jacqmans

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #10 on: 06/16/2015 01:34 PM »
Listening to the 'sound' of the Universe – highly sensitive core of LISA Pathfinder completed
 
16 June 2015

After more than 10 years of intense development, Airbus in Friedrichshafen has completed the main component that will be at the heart of the highly sensitive payload of the LISA Pathfinder mission – the LISA Technology Package (LTP) Core Assembly. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is supporting LISA Pathfinder within the framework of the European Space Agency (ESA) Science Programme. The mission, to be launched in October this year, is designed to validate important technologies whose function and performance capabilities cannot be tested here on Earth, or where only partial testing would be possible on the ground. This mission will pave the way for the Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA) gravitational wave observatory that, after its scheduled launch in 2034, will track down the highest-energy and most violent astrophysical events unfolding across the Universe.

Tuning into the 'sound' of the universe

If a stone is dropped in water, oscillations spread in waves across the surface of the water from the point of impact. Like stones falling into water, substantial masses that move through space extremely quickly and with rapidly changing acceleration also produce waves. These propagate through space and inevitably announce their presence as very small oscillations in space-time. These gravitational waves – predicted by the German physicist Albert Einstein in his Theory of General Relativity as far back as 1916 – allow us to 'listen to the sound' of the Universe, opening a new and unobstructed window to observe exotic celestial objects.

Among these are supernovae, close binary star systems consisting of white dwarfs, collisions between neutron stars and pulsars or black hole collisions during galaxy mergers. In the core of galaxies, objects such as white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes, may travel towards the super massive black hole at the centre; if they get close enough, they will start to spiral in as their orbits shrink as a result of the loss of energy and angular momentum carried away by gravitational waves (extreme-mass-ratio inspirals). Gravitational waves from the time immediately after the Big Bang can reveal more about the origin of the Universe. However, Einstein was somewhat doubtful that gravitational waves would ever be detected, as their effects are extremely small; it has not been possible to measure them so far. But today – almost 100 years after Einstein's prediction, mankind is on the verge of making their 'extremely quiet' oscillations 'audible'. It is expected that proof will be furnished in the coming years – initially using ground-based systems, and subsequently with eLISA out in space.

LISA Pathfinder prepares the way for eLISA

The eLISA space observatory will consist of three spacecraft – a mother craft and two daughter craft. They will be positioned in a near-equilateral triangle formation, with each side measuring approximately two million kilometres. The entire triangle will rotate and follow Earth on its orbit around the Sun at distances ranging between 10 and 25 million kilometres. The spacecraft are connected by laser beams – a feat of unprecedented technical precision. The observatory will be able to 'hear' any gravitational waves that pass through their alignment in a frequency range of between 0.1 millihertz and 0.1 hertz. The necessary technology requires initial testing in space, as the mission is extremely complex and involves components that cannot be tested adequately on the ground.

LISA Pathfinder will handle this task. The components used in the scientific payload – the LTP – were developed by several European countries and put together to form a composite payload by Airbus Defence & Space in Friedrichshafen. DLR played a key role in the development of the payload within the framework of the ESA Science Programme. Here, the German contribution received a substantial boost from a grant awarded by the DLR Space Administration to the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Hannover.

Highly sensitive measurement system

The LTP control electronics in the LISA Pathfinder orbiter have been installed and tested, and the final and most important unit in the payload, the LTP Core Assembly, will follow shortly. Its construction is now complete, and the unit has been sent from Friedrichshafen to IABG in Munich for integration into the spacecraft and final testing.

During the mission, two identical cube-shaped test masses, each weighing two kilograms, will be suspended in their own LTP vacuum vessel, almost free of internal and external disturbances, hence demonstrating free flight in space. A special gold-platinum alloy has been used for the masses, ensuring that magnetic forces do not have any effect. Using ultraviolet radiation, a contactless discharge system prevents any electrostatic charging of the masses. The caging and venting mechanism – responsible for protecting the test masses from intense vibrations during launch, releasing them in a highly controlled setting, and capturing them as necessary – is a particular challenge in this context. The laser interferometer will measure the position and orientation of the two test masses relative to the spacecraft and to each other at a precision of approximately one hundred millionth of a millimetre. In addition, there are other, less precise, sensors that also help determine their positions. A Drag-Free Attitude Control System (DFACS) uses the measurement data to control the spacecraft and to ensure it always remains centred on the test masses. Cold gas micronewton thrusters developed for the Gaia astrometry mission, which have the capability of delivering propulsion in extremely fine and uniform amounts, will control the position of the spacecraft.

The mission is scheduled for launch in October 2015. A one-year period of operation in an orbit around L2, approximately 1.5 million kilometres behind Earth when viewed from the Sun, will follow after launch. The Lagrangian points, named after Joseph-Louis Lagrange, are positions in which a gravitational state of equilibrium occurs, meaning that (in ideal cases), a spacecraft can 'linger' there.

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #11 on: 06/26/2015 01:42 PM »
LISA Pathfinder science module during tests

The LISA Pathfinder science module pictured in a cleanroom at IABG, Ottobrunn, Germany, in June 2015. One of two (gold coloured) colloidal micro-Newton thrusters, part of the NASA provided Space Technology 7 mission, can be seen on the side of the spacecraft.

http://sci.esa.int/lisa-pathfinder/56042-lisa-pathfinder-science-module-during-tests/

Related article:

- LISA Pathfinder prepares for final exams

http://sci.esa.int/lisa-pathfinder/55970-lisa-pathfinder-prepares-for-final-exams/

Credit: ESA - P. McNamara

Offline catdlr

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #12 on: 07/17/2015 07:40 PM »
ESA Euronews: The quest to capture gravitational waves

Published on Jul 17, 2015
The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft is due to set off in Autumn 2015 in a bid to prove that it is possible to observe gravitational waves in space. This is the latest step in an incredible journey to spot these ripples in spacetime that were first predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago.


« Last Edit: 07/17/2015 07:42 PM by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #13 on: 07/17/2015 07:43 PM »
Inside LISA Pathfinder

Published on Jul 17, 2015
ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission is a technology demonstrator that will pave the way for future spaceborne gravitational-wave observatories. It will operate about 1.5 million km from Earth towards the Sun, orbiting the first Sun–Earth ‘Lagrangian point’, L1.


Tony De La Rosa

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #14 on: 07/20/2015 01:50 PM »
LISA Pathfinder with Vega launch vehicle adapter

LISA Pathfinder launch composite on the Vega launch vehicle adapter, at IABG, Ottobrunn, Germany.

The launch composite with the octagonal-shaped science module and the silver-coloured propulsion module, is the configuration in which the spacecraft will be launched.

The red conical structure at the base of the propulsion module is the main engine nozzle, a 400 Newton class liquid apogee engine (LAE) providing the impulses for the major delta-V manoeuvres.

The launch vehicle adapter – the black conical structure under the launch composite – is the fixture by which the spacecraft is mounted on the launcher.

http://sci.esa.int/lisa-pathfinder/56027-lisa-pathfinder-with-vega-launch-vehicle-adapter/

Related article:

- LISA Pathfinder prepares for the Vega launcher

http://sci.esa.int/lisa-pathfinder/56163-lisa-pathfinder-prepares-for-the-vega-launcher/

Image credit: ESA – U. Ragnit

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #15 on: 08/26/2015 09:26 AM »

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #16 on: 09/01/2015 01:45 PM »
LISA Pathfinder set for launch site

1 September 2015

LISA Pathfinder, ESA’s demonstrator for spaceborne observations of gravitational waves, is ready to leave for Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Scheduled for launch on a Vega rocket later this year, the spacecraft was on display today at IABG’s test centre in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany, where final integration and extensive tests were performed over the past few months.

This was the last chance for scientists, engineers and members of the media to see LISA Pathfinder before it is packed for shipping.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/LISA_Pathfinder_set_for_launch_site

Image credit: ESA–P. Sebirot, 2015

Offline bolun

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #17 on: 09/01/2015 01:47 PM »
« Last Edit: 12/07/2015 12:01 PM by jacqmans »

Online jacqmans

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Re: ESA/NASA - LISA Pathfinder updates
« Reply #18 on: 12/07/2015 12:29 PM »
LISA Pathfinder star tracker image
 

A portion of the Earth during night time, covered by layers of the atmosphere, as seen through LISA Pathfinder's star trackers on 3 December 2015. Beyond the horizon of our planet, several stars are visible, above as well as through the atmosphere.
 
LISA Pathfinder, ESA's mission to test technology for gravitational wave detection in space, blasted off on 3 December at 04:04 GMT (05:04 CET). The Vega rocket delivered it to a low-Earth parking orbit and, from there, the satellite will perform a series of six critical burns to raise the highest point of the orbit. Eventually, it will reach its operational orbit around the Lagrange point L1, 1.5 million km away from Earth towards the Sun.
 
Since taking over control of the spacecraft after it separated from the upper stage of the Vega launcher, the mission control teams at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, have been checking that various subsystems on board LISA Pathfinder are working well ahead of the critical orbit raising phase. Among these operations, they also tested the two star-tracker cameras, located below the science module, that are used for navigating the satellite using the stars as reference points.
 
During the science mission, the images taken by the star-trackers are not sent to Earth but processed on board. However, during the commissioning of the spacecraft, the operators are collecting data from the star-trackers, and so obtained a one-of-a-kind image – at least for a non-imaging satellite such as LISA Pathfinder.
 
Acknowledgement: this image was prepared by Jonathan Grzymisch (LISA Pathfinder Control Engineer at ESA) and Mark Watt (Airbus-DS).
 
Credit: ESA/LPF/Airbus-DS; Acknowledgement to J. Grzymisch & M. Watt

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