Gaia secured inside fairing

Dec 16, 2013
The Gaia spacecraft is tucked up inside the Soyuz fairing, ready to be mated with the Soyuz lower stages. The logo depicts elements of the Gaia mission. Launch is scheduled for 9:12:19 GMT (10:12:19 CET) on 19 December 2013. Credit: ESA–M. Pedoussaut

ESA's billion-star surveyor Gaia, less than a week from launch, is now tucked up inside the fairing that will protect it during the first few minutes of ascent into space.

Last week, Gaia was loaded with the propellants it will need to journey to its 'L2' destination, a gravitationally stable location 1.5 million km away from Earth, from where it will survey our Milky Way galaxy.

After fuelling, it was mounted on the Soyuz adapter and added to the Fregat upper stage, which will boost Gaia towards L2.

Meanwhile, the basic assembly of Soyuz – the boosters, core stage and third – has been completed in its integration building.

In the coming days, the Soyuz lower stages and the upper assembly containing Gaia will be transported to the and mated.

Launch is scheduled for 9:12:19 GMT (10:12:19 CET) on 19 December.

The Gaia spacecraft is positioned inside the Soyuz fairing, in preparation for the 19 December 2013 launch. The spacecraft was attached to the vehicle adapter before being installed in the fairing. Launch is scheduled for 9:12:19 GMT (10:12:19 CET) on 19 December 2013. Credit: ESA–M. Pedoussaut

Follow the launch campaign on our dedicated blog.

Explore further: Image: Saturn's sponge-like moon Hyperion

Related Stories

Gaia launch postponement update

Oct 24, 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.

Unfolding Gaia

Jun 25, 2013

(Phys.org) —Gaia, ESA's billion-star surveyor, will be launched into space towards the end of this year. In the meantime, ESA Space Science has launched a new 'minisite' focused on the Gaia mission.

Swarm on the launchpad

Nov 19, 2013

Preparations for Friday's launch of ESA's magnetic explorer have reached an important milestone – the constellation is now in the Plesetsk launch tower.

Gaia mapping the stars of the Milky Way

Jun 28, 2013

ESA's billion-star surveyor, Gaia, has completed final preparations in Europe and is ready to depart for its launch site in French Guiana, set to embark on a five-year mission to map the stars with unprecedented ...

Recommended for you

The view from up there, down here

2 hours ago

When many people saw the first stunning photos of the fragile blue marble of Earth from space, it changed their outlook of humanity. It was a singular moment in time when people around the world were watching ...

The weird ways fire behaves in space (w/ Video)

4 hours ago

Light a match on earth and you can expect the flame to shoot up in a tapering bulb. But light that match in space and you might not even recognize the small, blue orb at the tip. That's because fire behaves ...

Russia loses comms with ISS cargo spacecraft (Update)

6 hours ago

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station were left with a long wait Tuesday to get their latest food and fuel deliveries after an unmanned Russian supply ship lost communications following takeoff.

Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

19 hours ago

No matter how beautiful or crystal clear the bubbling waters of an oasis may be, they seldom lead to technology breakthroughs. Yet, NASA's OASIS investigation's bubbles may lead to an ocean of new improvements ...

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.