Author Topic: Soyuz Flight VS06 Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT - Gaia December 19, 2013  (Read 74858 times)

Offline jacqmans

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Arianespace to launch Gaia; European Space Agency mission will observe a billion stars in our Galaxy
Evry, December 16, 2009

Gaia is a successor to the Hipparcos satellite launched by Arianespace in 1989.  Gaia will be placed into deep space beyond lunar orbit by a Soyuz rocket launched from the Guiana Space Center (French Guiana) in 2012. The orbit will be of a Lissajous-type around the second Lagrange point (L2).

Built by Astrium, Gaia will weigh about 2,100 kg at launch. Like Hipparcos, a pioneer in space-based astronomy, Gaia will observe more than a billion objects with magnitudes down to 20. Gaia will enable scientists to provide even more accurate answers concerning the formation, composition and evolution of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, extrasolar planets and other galaxies.

“Arianespace is especially proud of contributing to scientific knowledge by launching Gaia,” said Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace. “Like Hipparcos, it will revolutionize our understanding of the Universe. This latest contract, the fifth we have signed in 2009 for a Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Center, is clear recognition of the quality and competitiveness of our launch service and solutions. It also largely illustrates the advantages of the European family of launch vehicles developed by ESA and operated by Arianespace.”

According to David Southwood, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration: "Gaia is a grand challenge to understanding our galaxy, to find out what it is made of and, thus, where we have come from. Europe alone has taken up the challenge. We therefore are very pleased to be launched by Arianespace."

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world’s leading launch Service & Solutions company, delivering innovative offer to its customers since 1980. Backed by its 23 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace proposes an unrivalled launcher family, comprising Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, and an international workforce renowned for their culture of commitment and excellence. As of 1st december 2009, Arianespace had launched a total of 276 payloads, including more than half of all the commercial satellites now in service worldwide. It has a backlog of 25 Ariane 5 and 10 Soyuz launches, equal to 3 years of business.
« Last Edit: 01/29/2014 07:28 AM by Jester »

Offline Analyst

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Gaia will be a hell of a mission. Exploration in the very sense.

Analyst

Offline whitewatcher

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Gaia will be a hell of a mission. Exploration in the very sense.

Yep. I'm happy to see what they are doing with my tax money.
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Online woods170

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Gaia will be a hell of a mission. Exploration in the very sense.

Yep. I'm happy to see what they are doing with my tax money.

Yeah, me too. I generally prefer ESA doing unmanned missions with a high science pay-off, instead of wasting money on flying humans in space. But, let's not get distracted.  :D
Gaia is going to be very exciting. If all goes well, she will be a worthy successor to Hipparcos.

Offline whitewatcher

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I generally prefer ESA doing unmanned missions with a high science pay-off, instead of wasting money on flying humans in space.

Sorry, I work in european manned spaceflight.  :P  ;D
But I don't see a competition .... office next door is working on Gaia.  8)
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Offline Lambda-4

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Yeah, me too. I generally prefer ESA doing unmanned missions with a high science pay-off, instead of wasting money on flying humans in space.

ESA's and ESA memberstates' participation in the ISS program does yield science returns. It's a good thing. There are other programs that are far more wasteful that have questionable motives and will result in questionable results (e.g. the development of Vega).

Offline Space Pete

Delivery of Gaia's primary mirrors.

ESA's mission to measure the precise positions of a billion stars reached an important milestone on 3 September with the delivery of its first primary mirror. The second primary mirror is near completion and scheduled to arrive at the Toulouse test and integration centre of prime contractor EADS Astrium during October.

Gaia will carry two identical telescopes, each fitted with four mirrors (M1 to 4). A further two mirrors (M5 and 6) will send the light from these dual instruments into the same focal plane. To date, six of the 10 rectangular mirrors have been delivered. They are: the M3A tertiary mirror, whose dimensions are 0.65 x 0.275 m; both of the M4 combiner mirrors (dimensions 0.19 x 0.07 m), and the M5 and M6 mirrors (dimensions 0.54 x 0.36 m), in addition to the M1A primary mirror (dimensions 1.49 x 0.54 m).

All of the mirrors have been fabricated from blanks made of sintered silicon carbide (SiC), a relatively new material in mirror fabrication for space missions. The blanks were made by Boostec in France. Silicon carbide was selected because it allows each mirror to be extremely strong and rigid, but lightweight and with a high thermal conductivity - important not only for its on-orbit performance, but also for minimising deformations caused by Earth's gravity during ground testing.

Each primary mirror is shaped by the French company Sagem (located close to Paris), using computer-guided milling and polishing machines, and weighs about 40 kg. To achieve sufficient smoothness, all of the mirror blanks were coated with a thin layer of silicon carbide by chemical vapour deposition before polishing started. This process was carried out by Schunk Kohlenstofftechnik in Heuchelheim, Germany. The polishing is a slow, painstaking process which requires each mirror to be polished to a precision of about 10 nanometres RMS. To appreciate this technical achievement one can consider that if the Gaia M1 mirror was scaled to the size of the Atlantic ocean, any bumps on the surface would be of the order of a few centimetres.

The mirrors also have an unusual curved shape, which is calculated using a very precise mathematical formula so that there will be no distortion of the incoming light across the telescopes' field of view and at all wavelengths from blue to red.

After polishing, the surface is coated with enhanced silver reflective coating. This coating involves the addition of a dielectric amplification layer, which protects the silver from tarnishing and enhances its reflectivity across the entire spectral range (320 – 1000 nanometres) to be studied by Gaia.

"The mirrors are being integrated on the structural payload module in order to complete the optical train and enable testing to begin," said Mathias Erdmann, ESA's Gaia payload system engineer. "Their shape and size were determined by the room available within the payload fairing of the Soyuz-Fregat launcher."

"The M1 mirrors have a collecting area about 11 times bigger than the primary mirror of its predecessor, ESA's Hipparcos astrometry spacecraft, enabling them to collect many more photons," said Jos de Bruijne, Deputy Project Scientist for Gaia.

"The combination of size, smoothness and special shape is required to provide a wide angle of view - about 0.7 degrees - and a small wave front error that will give extremely sharp images of a billion stars in our Galaxy."

Illustratrion of the Gaia payload module indicating the location of the M1 mirrors. Credit: ESA
Gaia will view two widely separated areas of the sky, using two identical telescopes. Over its five-year mission, it will scan the entire sky, observing each of its target stars about 70 times. By accurately monitoring the two-dimensional star positions on the sky, it will be possible to infer their lateral motions across the sky and to calculate their precise three-dimensional locations, even for objects as far away as the galactic centre. Gaia will also measure the spectra of the brightest 15% of those stars, mainly in order to determine their radial velocities. Launch of Gaia on a Soyuz-Fregat is currently scheduled for November 2012.

Source (with accompanying image).
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline Space Pete

Gaia's Mechanical Service Module leaves Stevenage.

A significant milestone was reached this summer on the Gaia programme, with Astrium Stevenage completing work on the Mechanical Service Module. Once in space, the Service Module will control the functioning of the entire spacecraft. At this stage it consists of a mechanical structure, built in Spain, integrated in Stevenage with its electrical harness and its two propulsion systems - one a chemical system and the other a cold gas micro-propulsion system. The micro-propulsion feed module was manufactured at Astrium's Portsmouth factory.

The first stage in the service module's journey after leaving Stevenage was to a facility at Westcott, where the micro-propulsion system was pressure tested. It then travelled to Toulouse where its electronic equipment will be installed before the Payload Module is integrated and tested.

The European Space Agency's Gaia mission will examine the Milky Way in unprecedented 3-D detail, surveying more than one billion stars to make the largest, most precise map of our Galaxy to date.

Gaia is one of the most important current space projects for the UK, which has won about €80M of contracts from ESA (European Space Agency) to build the spacecraft.


www.ukspaceagency.bis.gov.uk/News-and-Events/News/19752.aspx
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline bolun

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Gaia sunshield deployment test

02 Dec 2011 16:53

Deployment testing of the Gaia Flight Model Deployable Sunshield Assembly has been successfully completed in preparation for the spacecraft mechanical test campaign.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=49710

and

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMKL45XPVG_index_0.html
« Last Edit: 12/08/2011 10:27 AM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Gaia Basic Angle Monitor delivered for integration

11 Apr 2012 16:19

The protoflight models of the two Basic Angle Monitor (BAM) Opto-Mechanical Assembly (OMA) bars have been delivered to the spacecraft Prime Contractor and are being prepared for integration into the Payload Module (PM).

 http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50207

Offline bolun

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Gaia checks out of antenna testing

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMWFV1VW3H_index_0.html

Offline bolun

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Gaia Phased Array Antenna delivered and integrated

06 Jul 2012 10:38

The phased array antenna that Gaia will use to send its science data to Earth has been delivered and integrated onto the Service Module. The antenna provides the high gain and data rate needed to allow large volumes of data to be transmitted over the 1.5 million kilometres that will separate the spacecraft's operational orbit from Earth. The use of electronic beam steering allows the signal to be directed towards Earth as the spacecraft rotates; a conventional, mechanically pointed antenna would cause microvibrations, seriously impacting the performance of the telescope.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50523

Offline bolun

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New Brochure Number 296 about GAIA Mission, it is possible to read online and to download in PDF version.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/ESA_Publications/SEMA3TPXV4H_0.html
« Last Edit: 08/18/2012 11:16 AM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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#05: Gaia Service Module Thermal Balance/Thermal Vacuum testing completed

10 Sep 2012

The Protoflight Model of the Gaia Service Module has successfully completed thermal balance and thermal vacuum testing in the SIMLES chamber at Intespace Toulouse. These tests verify the thermal performance of the spacecraft module under space conditions.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50740

and

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

« Last Edit: 09/10/2012 03:28 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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#06: Gaia Payload Module Integration Completed

17 Sep 2012 12:00

Integration of the Flight Model of the Gaia Payload Module has been completed. It has undergone acceptance vibration testing; thermal balance and thermal vacuum testing will be carried out towards the end of this year.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=50764
« Last Edit: 09/18/2012 01:20 PM by bolun »

Online jebbo

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« Last Edit: 05/16/2013 05:30 PM by jebbo »

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And another presentation specifically on exoplanets:

http://www.mpe.mpg.de/events/ropacs-2012/Talks/Sozzetti_Gaia.pdf

Offline bolun

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Online jebbo

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The Gaia Spacecraft Flight Model has successfully completed its mass properties test campaign.

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=51921

Online jebbo

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