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GAIA successful launch on 19 December 2013


19 December 2013

The European Space Agency’s GAIA satellite was sent aloft by a Soyuz launcher Thursday 19 December from the Guiana Space Centre. The launcher lifted off as scheduled at 10:12 CET and the satellite was released into orbit 42 minutes later. It will now take one month to reach the L2 Lagrange point, a very special point in the Sun-Earth system beyond Earth as seen from the Sun, some 1.5 million km away, 5 times the Earth-Moon distance. The L2 point orbits the Sun with the same period as Earth. GAIA will thus survey the entire galaxy in the space of a year. The Toulouse Space Centre houses one of the 6 European data centres of the GAIA mission, expected to last 5 years.

Liftoff set for 9h12 (UTC)

  • Launch date: 19 December 2013
  • Launcher version: Soyuz
  • Satellite: Gaia
  • Customer: ESA
  • Launch time: 9h12 (UTC)
  • Webcast start time: 8h57 (UTC)

Video

Gaia and Soyouz launcher preparation photo report

Photo report of the key phases of launcher and satellite preparations in French Guiana.

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