The Planck Collaboration

The diagram below sketches the organisation of the "science ground segment" of Planck; clicking on the different parts of the diagram will provide a more detailed view of the groups of people who have participated and are participating in different areas within the activities of the Collaboration. A brief description of the activities of each person are provided. Below the diagram, a short description of the structure is provided, and of its funding sources. Note: MOC = Mission Operations Centre; LFI = Low Frequency Instrument; HFI = High Frequency Instrument; PSO = Planck Science Office; DPC = Data Processing Centre; IDT = Instrument Development Team; IOT = Instrument Operations Team.

The Planck Scientific Collaboration consists of all the scientists which have contributed to the development of the Planck mission, and who participate in the scientific exploitation of the Planck data during the proprietary period, which nominally ends with the release of the scientific products to the community 3.5 yrs after launch, i.e. in January 2013. A complete database of all members of the Planck Collaboration can be searched online. Each individual is a member of one or more among four Consortia of scientists:

  • The LFI Consortium, Principal Investigator N. Mandolesi of the Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica (Bologna, Italy)
  • The HFI Consortium, Principal Investigator J.L. Puget of the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale (Orsay, France), and co-PI F.R. Bouchet of the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (Paris, France)
  • The DK-Planck Consortium, led by H.U. N\/orgaard-Nielsen of the Danish National Space Institute (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • ESA's Planck Science Office, Project Scientist J. Tauber.

The Planck instruments, LFI and HFI were designed, built, tested and delivered to ESA by dedicated teams under the direction of the LFI and HFI Principal Investigators and Project Managers.

The ground operations of the Planck satellite are based on 4 geographically distributed centres:

  • The Mission Operations Centre (MOC), located at ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt (Germany), is responsible for all aspects of flight control and of the health and safety of the Planck satellite, including both instruments. It plans and executes all necessary satellite activities, including instrument commanding requests by the instrument operations centres. MOC communicates with the satellite using ESA's 35-m antenna located in New Norcia (Australia) over a daily 3-hour period, during which it uplinks a scheduled activity timeline which is autonomously executed by the satellite, and downlinks the science and housekeeping (HK) data acquired by the satellite during the past 24 hours. The downlinked data are transferred from New Norcia to the MOC over a period of typically 8 hours; at MOC they are put onto a data server from where they are retrieved by the two Data Processing Centres.
  • The Planck Science Office (PSO), located at ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre in Madrid (Spain) is responsible for coordinating scientific operations of the Planck instruments, and for planning the sky surveying strategy. It provides to MOC a detailed pointing plan with a periodicity of about 1 month. PSO develops and operates the archive which will store and distribute the final scientific products to the community.
  • The LFI Operations and Data Processing Centre, located at the Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy), is responsible for the optimal operation of the LFI instrument, and for the processing of the data acquired by LFI into the final scientific products of the mission.
  • The HFI Operations and Data Processing Centres, located respectively at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay (France) and at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (France), are similarly responsible for the optimal operation of the HFI instrument, and (with several other institutes in France and the UK) for the processing of the data acquired by HFI into the final scientific products of the mission.

The Planck Science Team (see membership) is a formal body set up by ESA at the inception of the project to represent the scientific interests of the mission, which has had a key advisory role vis-\`a-vis the development of the satellite, payload and ground segment. It is a recognised principle of the mission that the scientific exploitation of Planck during the proprietary period is a joint venture between the involved Consortia, and the Science Team is the body which has taken the role to organise, plan, coordinate, and oversee all the common activities in this respect. All members of the Planck Scientific Collaboration have agreed to abide by the policies set by the Science Team with regard to data access and publication of scientific results.

The scientific activities of the Planck Collaboration within the proprietary period are organised in "Projects", which consist of teams of people who are responsible to write papers on specific sceintific topics on behalf of the whole Collaboration. "Working groups" gather Projects in similar areas. A list of Planck Working Groups, projects and their associated teams can be consulted online. Coordinators of Working Groups and Leaders of Projects are nominated by the Planck Science Team. Papers by the Planck Collaboration are based on the scientific programme described in the Planck Bluebook; their authorship is extensive and ordered alphabetically. Individual members who have made important contributions to Planck over many years are referred to as "Planck Scientists" and have the right to co-author all these papers. Other members of the Planck Collaboration are referred to as "Planck Associates" and have the right to co-author papers to which they have contributed. Papers describing technical aspects or very specialized science topics, are prepared by ad-hoc teams and have non-alphabetic author order.

An internal reviewing process ensures that scientific papers submitted for publication by the Planck Collaboration are consistent with each other and of high scientific quality. This process is led by an internal Editorial Board which is led by Planck's Survey Scientists and consists of senior members of the Planck Collaboration. The Editorial Board makes recommendations to the Planck Science Team on the readiness for submission of all Planck papers. The Science Team makes the final decisions.


Planck is a project of the European Space Agency - ESA - with instruments provided by two scientific Consortia funded by ESA member states (in particular the lead countries: France and Italy) with contributions from NASA (USA), and telescope reflectors provided in a collaboration between ESA and a scientific Consortium led and funded by Denmark.

ESA has managed the project since its inception in 1993 and funded the development of the satellite, its launch, and its operations. More details on ESA's Mission Team and supporting Industrial Team are available in ESA's web pages.

The Planck LFI project (including instrument development and operation, data processing and scientific analysis) is developed by an international consortium led by Italy and involving Canada, Finland, Germany, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and USA. The Italian contribution is funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and INAF. More details can be found in LFI's web pages.

The Planck HFI instrument and associated Data Processing Centre were designed, built, and are operated by an international consortium of laboratories, universities and institutes, with important contributions from industry, under the leadership of the PI institute, the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale at Orsay, France. The instrument and associated Data Processing Centre are funded in particular by CNES, CNRS, NASA, STFC, and ASI. More details can be found in HFI's web pages.

The reflectors of Planck's telescope were developed by a collaboration between ESA and a scientific Consortium (DK-Planck) led and funded by Denmark.

The Planck Collaboration acknowledges the support of: ESA; CNES and CNRS/INSU-IN2P3-INP (France); ASI, CNR, and INAF (Italy); NASA and DoE (USA); STFC and UKSA (UK); CSIC, MICINN and JA (Spain); Tekes, AoF and CSC (Finland); DLR and MPG (Germany); CSA (Canada); DTU Space (Denmark); SER/SSO (Switzerland); RCN (Norway); SFI (Ireland); FCT/MCTES (Portugal); and DEISA (EU):

ESA: European Space Agency


  • CNES: Centre National des Etudes Spatiales
  • CNRS/INSU-IN2P3-INP: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/ Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers- Institut National de Physique Nucleaire et de Physique des Particules- Institut National Polytechnique


  • ASI: Agenzia Spaziale Italiana
  • CNR: Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerca
  • INAF: Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica

United States of America

  • NASA: National Air and Space Administration
  • DoE: Department of Energy

United Kingdom

  • STFC: Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • UKSA: UK Space Agency


  • CSIC: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
  • MICINN: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion
  • JA: Junta de Andalucia


  • Tekes: Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation
  • AoF: Academy of Finland
  • CSC - IT Center for Science


  • DLR: Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt
  • MPG: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Wissenschaften


  • CSA: Canadian Space Agency


  • DTU Space: Danmarks Tekniske Universitet/Institut for Rumforskning og-teknologi


  • SER/SSO: State Secretariat for Education and Research/Swiss Space Office


  • RCN: Research Council of Norway
  • NSC: Norwegian Space Centre


  • SFI: Science Foundation Ireland


  • FCT/MCTES: Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia/ Ministerio da Ciencia, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior

European Union

  • DEISA: Distributed European Insfrastructure for Supercomputing Applications

A pictorial overview of the major participating funding agencies and scientific institutes is provided below.