NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS

18/07/2017 Last telecommand sent

Today at 18:00UTC, the PI of the LTP, Stefano Vitale, had the honour of sending the last telecommand to LISA Pathfinder. This command instructed the satellite to switch off its transponder, thereby ending the mission.

 

30/06/2017 End of Science Operations

Today, the science operations of LISA Pathfider came to an end. The mission has performed has been a great success and paves the way for LISA.

 

21/06/2017 LISA selected as the 3rd Large Class mission in the ESA Cosmic Vision Programme

At the 154th meeting of the SPC, LISA was selected as the 3rd Large Class mission (L3) of the Cosmic Vision Programme. L3 has a nominal launch date of 2034. 

 

07/04/2017 De-orbiting burn

In preparation for the end of the LISA Pathfinder mission in June, the Mission Operations Centre team have started the de-orbiting manoeuvre out of the LPF L1 science orbit. The manoeuvre was minimal., and allows LPF to operate undisturbed unti the end of operations.

 

19/03/2017 DRS missin extension operations begin

The DRS have retaken control of the satellite to perform the remainder of their operations. The DRS operations are scheduled to last until end April.

 

04/03/2017 Long noise run complete

The longest noise run yet performed by LPF was successfully completed on 4 March. The system had bene putinto its quietest state, and the residual noise was measured for a period of 3 weeks. Results will be published after the data has been fully analysed.

 

16/01/2017 LTP Core Assembly temperature reduced

During the nominal science operations, it was apparent that the performance of the instrument was limited by Brownian Noise in the mid-band frequencies. This noise source comes from the bombardment of residual gas in the electrode housing on the tets mass surfaces. As the system is vented to space, the pressure (and hence Brownian noise) has continued to fall, such that the limiting noise is now significantly lower than during the nominal mission. However, the pressure can also be reduced but reducing the temperature of the system. This was done at the start of 2017, when the LTP core assembly temperature was recuced from ~22C to ~11C.

 

07/12/2016 Start of LISA Pathfinder Extended mission phase

The LTP has now taken back control of the satellite, and science operations have restarted. The extension will again be shared with teh DRS, who will operate in March/April 2017.

 

02/07/2016 Start of Disturbance Reduction System (DSR) science operations

The DRS science operations began on 2 July. The scinece phase willlast ~90 days, and will focus on te characterisation of a new type of micro-thruster (collidal micro-Newton thrusters), as well as on the control and stability of the spacecraft and test masses

 

27/06/2016 End of nominal science phase of the LISA Technology Package (LTP)

Today marks the ned of the nominal science phase of the LISA Technology Package on board LISA Pathfinder. The LTP has demonstrated a perfromance beyond the pre-launch requirements, and is now approaching the performance required for the full LISA mission.

 

21/06/2016 Mission extension granted

At the 150th meeting of the Science Programme Committee (SPC), the delegates unanimously voted to extend the LISA Pathfinder mission until end May 2017

 

07/06/2016 First Results published

The first results of differential acceleration between the test masses was published today in Physical Review Letters. The papoer can be accessed from: https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.231101

 

01/03/2016 LISA Pathfinder begins Science Operations

At 08:00:00UTC on 1 March 2016, LISA Pathfinder Science Operations Began. Science operations will run until mid June, after which the NAA Provided Disturbanced Reduction System science operations will begin.

 

16/02/2016 Successful release of test masses

On 15 February, the first of the LISA Pathfinder test masses was released from its mechanical holding devive. On the 16th the second test amss was also released successfully. Both test masses are now free floating inside the spacecraft

 

11/02/2015 LIGO announce first detection of Gravitational Waves

The LIGO consortium today announced the first drect detection of Gravitational Waves. https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102

 

12/12/2015 LISA Pathfinder en-route to L1

Following the successful separation from the launch vehicle, the mission operations team at ESOC undertook one of the most complex Launch and Early Operations Phases (LEOP) ever undertaken or an ESA mission. The team commanded five apogee raising manoeuvres, which slowly boosted the elliptical orbit's apogee (furthest point from the earth). On the 6th manoeuvre, commanded on the 12/12/2015), LISA Pathfinder left the Earth behind and headed out towards its final orbit around the 1st Sun-Earth Lagrange point. It will take an additional 6 weeks to reach the final operational orbit.

 

03/12/2015 LISA Pathfinder successfully launches

At 04:04UTC on the 3rd December, LISA Pathfiner succsessfully launched on top of a VEGA launcher. The rockets first three stages burned for ~7minutes, followed by a nine minute buirn fo the rockets upper stage. This put LISA Pathfinder in a ballistic trajectory around earth. Approximatley 1hr 40minutes afetr launch, the upper stage fired again, placing LPF into its final parking orbit of 206kmx 1540km. Immediately after separating for the launcher, the mission operations tema at ESOC acquired the first signal from LISA Pathfinder, confirming ithe succesful launch and separation.

 

02/07/2015 Final environmental test has been successfully completed

The final environmental test of the LISA Pathfinder development has been successfully passed this week. The Acoustic Noise test simulates the noise experienced by the launch composite during the first few seconds after launch (due to the main rocket engine). The launch composite must withstand noise levels of >140dB!

 

01/06/2015 Arrival of the LISA Technology Package Core Assembly at the IABG test centre

Today, the LISA Technology Package Core Assembly (LCA) arrived at the IABG test centre (Ottorbunn, Germany). The LCA will now be integrated to the spacecraft, forming the complete science module of LISA Pathfinder.

 

18/05/2015   LISA Pathfinder Qualification and Flight Acceptance Review kicks off

Today, the final major review of the LISA Pathfinder mission kicked off at ESTEC. This review, the Qualification Acceptance Review (Part 2) will culminate in the Flight Acceptance Review Board Meeting, scheduled for early September. Following the Board Meeting, LISA Pathfinder will be shipped to the European Launch Site in Kourour, French Guyana.

 

12/05/2015   Vibration testing of the LISA Pathfinder Core Assembly is successfully completed

Today, at the Airbus Defence and Space (Friedrichshafen) facility, the vibration testing of the LISA Pathfinder Core Assembly (LCA) was successfully completed. Following some workmanshp tests, the LCA will be delivered to the IABG testing facility near Munich, where it will be integrated to the spacecraft module.

 

 

 

Image of the Week

Image of the Week

Launch of LISA Pathfinder atop the VEGA launcher designated VV06

Credit: ESA - Stephane Corvaja