A Quick Update on Postponed Gaia Mission

October 24, 2013

Artist impression of Gaia space telescope.

Artist impression of Gaia space telescope.

As European Space Agency reports, the decision was made on Tuesday that the launch of ESA's Gaia space telescope had to be postponed. The reason is technical issue on another satellite that has some identical components as Gaia.

Gaia is a space telescope with the mission of observing a one billion stars and creating the 3D map of our galaxy. It was supposed to launch on November 20, as reported here, but now, the launch has to be postponed.

There was a technical issue with components on another satellite, which is already in Earth's orbit, that shares components in question with Gaia. These components are used in two transponders on Gaia that generate timing signals for downlinking the telemetry.

The engineers will remove the transponders and send them back to Europe from French Guiana where the launch site is located. There, components in question, faulty or not, will be replaced and verified. Finally, they will be sent back to South America and refitted to Gaia.

Sadly, it will not be possible to launch the telescope on November 20, as planned, but the next available launch window is from December 17 to January 5, 2014. ESA will announce the new launch date as soon as the timeline for completing the repairs has been confirmed. Stay tuned.

Source: ESA.int, Image credit: ESA.int

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