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/NBAA2014 10.22.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne/NBAA2014 10.22.14 **
** Airborne/NBAA2014 10.21.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne/NBAA2014 10.21.14 **
** Airborne/NBAA2014 10.20.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne/NBAA2014 10.20.14 **

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

Game-Changing NBAA2014 Sponsor Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics!

Innovation Brings Safe, Certified, Nanophosphate® Lithium Batteries To New Business Aircraft True Blue Power is the first company in the world to achieve FAA TSO and EASA ETSO >[...]

Embraer’s Legacy 500 Receives FAA Certification

EASA Certification Expected Later This Year The FAA handed over certification papers for Embraer's Legacy 500 executive jet during a ceremony at the National Business Aviation Asso>[...]

Airborne at NBAA--10.21.14: NBAA2014 Opens, Eclipse Update, FJ44 TBO Increase

Also: Shuster/Hart Address NBAA, Gogo Means Business, BBJ Maxes Out, Hartzell Pulls Its Weight The NBAA Opening General Session featured two well-known names from Washington. Repre>[...]

Airborne at NBAA-10.22.14: Legacy 500, Universal InSight, BendixKing AeroWave

Also: GE Honda, Sagem's Active SideStick, Syberjet Update, Techno Aerospace Knows How to Party The FAA handed over certification papers for Embraer's Legacy 500 executive jet durin>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (10.23.14)

Experimental Balloon and Airship Association A loose congregation of aeronauts who have built, are flying or own any sort of Experimental, Ultralight or Homebuilt Lighter-Than-Air >[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

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