Gaia space probe launcher

Gaia space probe launcher

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Credit: M Pedoussaut/EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Gaia space probe launcher being assembled. This is the upper stage of the Soyuz-STB rocket that will carry the Gaia space probe into space. It contains the space probe itself and the Fregat-MT launcher. Once in orbit, this upper stage will split open and eject the space probe. Gaia will travel to the second Lagrangian point (L2), located about 1.6 million kilometres from the Earth in the direction opposite to the Sun. From there, it will scan the sky for five years and measure the position and properties of a billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. It will also be used to detect extrasolar planets, asteroids within the solar system, and distant quasars, as well as testing the Theory of General Relativity. Gaia was launched in December 2013.

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Keywords: assembling, assembly, building, construction, fregat, gaia, hangar, l2, lagrangian point, launch pad, launcher, preparing, quasars, rocket, russian, soyuz, space flight, space probe, spaceflight, theory of general relativity, upper stage

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