Gaia Spreads Its Wings | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 08.27.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 08.27.14 **
** Airborne 08.25.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 08.25.14 **
** Airborne 08.22.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 08.22.14 **

Mon, Dec 12, 2011

Gaia Spreads Its Wings

European Probe's Sun Shield Deployed For The First Time

ESA's Gaia star-mapper has passed a critical test ahead of its launch in 2013: the spacecraft's sunshield has been deployed for the first time. Gaia's sunshield is an essential component of the mission. It keeps Gaia in shadow, maintaining the scientific instruments at a constant temperature of around -110 degrees centigrade.

ESA Photo

The sunshield is about 10 m across, which is too large for the launch vehicle fairing, so it has been built with a dozen folding panels that will be deployed after launch. Since the sunshield is designed for the weightlessness of space, it cannot support its own weight on Earth. So, during this test at Astrium in Toulouse, France, support cables and counterweights simulated weightless conditions and provided a realistic trial.

During its expected lifetime of five years, Gaia will take a census of a billion stars - roughly 1% of all of the stars in our Galaxy. It will observe each star about 70 times, each time recording its brightness, colour and, most importantly, its position. By comparing Gaia's series of exquisite observations, astronomers will precisely measure the apparent movement of each star across the heavens, enabling them to determine its distance and true motion through space. The unprecedented results will allow astronomers to trace the history of the Milky Way.

Before the 2013 launch, some of the solar array panels needed to generate power will be fixed to the sunshield. The rest will be placed on the bottom of the spacecraft.

FMI: www.esa.int

Advertisement

More News

Aero-TV: Doing It Diesel Style -- Glasair's New Diesel Offering

Glasair Makes A Commitment To Alternative Powerplants ANN CEO and Editor-In-Chief, Jim Campbell saw and reported on a lot of interesting things at Sun ‘n Fun 2014, and one of>[...]

AeroSports Update: KR Gathering Planned For Chino, CA

The KR Is The Little Homebuilt Airplane That Sits So Low You Can Almost Step Over It But, In The Sky, It Can Get Up And Go The Official 2014 KR Gathering will be held on Friday Sep>[...]

AD: Viking Air Limited Airplanes

AD NUMBER: 2014-17-01 PRODUCT: Viking Air Limited Model DHC-3 airplanes.>[...]

Prop Wars! MT-Props v Hartzell In War Of Words

Gerd R. Muehlbauer Says 'Competitors' Claims Are Misleading In an open letter to the industry, MT-Propellers president Gerd R. Muehlbauer says that claims made by rival propeller m>[...]

AD: Dassault Aviation Airplanes

AD NUMBER: 2014-16-27 PRODUCT: Certain Dassault Aviation Model FALCON 900EX airplanes.>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC