Herschel and Planck missions ready to move to launch site

Feb 09, 2009
Herschel in space, close up on its mirror. Credits: ESA (Image by AOES Medialab)

(PhysOrg.com) -- ESA’s Herschel and Planck missions that will study the formation of stars and galaxies and the relic radiation from the Big Bang, respectively, have successfully completed their test campaigns in Europe. The two spacecraft will soon be shipped to Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

On 6 February, ESA reviewed the status of the spacecraft and the results of the test campaigns that were carried out over the past year. Following the review, the spacecraft teams were given the green light to start the launch campaign, the final phase of spacecraft activities on Earth.

Built by Thales Alenia Space leading a host of subcontractors from across Europe, the Herschel spacecraft and its instruments were thoroughly tested at ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, during 2008. The spacecraft, now packed in its container, will be transported to Kourou by plane on 11 February 2009.

Artist's impression of the Planck spacecraft. Credits: ESA (Image by AOES Medialab)

Planck, also built by Thales Alenia Space and its subcontractors, was initially tested at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes and at ESTEC, Final tests took place at the facilities of the Centre Spatial Liége, Belgium. The spacecraft will be transported to Kourou by plane on 18 February 2009.

Once at the Guiana Space Centre, the two spacecraft will undergo their final checks and be prepared for launch. Herschel and Planck are scheduled to launch into space in a dual launch configuration by an Ariane ECA rocket on 16 April 2009.

Provided by ESA

Explore further: Image: Contingency training for the Sentinel-2 mission control team

Related Stories

Tracking Japan's asteroid impact mission

Apr 30, 2015

ESA is set to support Japan's 'touch-and-go' Hayabusa-2 spacecraft, now en route to a little-known asteroid, helping to boost the scientific return from this audacious mission.

You can see the Hubble Space Telescope in the sky above

Apr 30, 2015

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has now been in orbit for 25 years and this achievement has been a wonderful excuse to pour over the telescope's beautiful imagery, to consider its valuable contribution to science, to remember its troubled beginning ...

Recommended for you

What animals have been to space?

5 hours ago

When we think of spaceflight, we think astronauts. You're a human, you perceive the Universe with your human-centric attitudes. You… specist.

Image: SOHO captures bright filament eruption

8 hours ago

An elongated solar filament that extended almost half the sun's visible hemisphere erupted into space on April 28-29, 2015, in a large burst of bright plasma. Filaments are unstable strands of solar material ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.