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Waspie_Dwarf

Countdown to Launch of Billion-Star Surveyor

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Countdown to launch of ESA’s billion-star surveyor

21 October 2013 ESA’s billion-star surveyor Gaia will be launched from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou on 20 November to begin a five-year mission to map the stars with unprecedented precision.

Gaia’s main goal is to create a highly accurate 3D map of our Milky Way Galaxy by repeatedly observing a billion stars to determine their positions in space and their movement through it.

Other measurements will assess the vital physical properties of each star, including temperature, luminosity and composition. The resulting census will allow astronomers to determine the origin and the evolution of our Galaxy.

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Gaia sunshield deployment time lapse sequence

A time lapse sequence, at 7 times actual speed, showing the deployment of Gaia's sunshield during testing in the S1B integration building at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 10 October 2013.

Credit: ESA

Source: ESA - Space in Videos

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Gaia sunshield deployment test

A time lapse sequence, at 7 times actual speed, showing the deployment of Gaia's sunshield during testing in the S1B integration building at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 10 October 2013.

Credit: ESA

Source: ESA - Space in Videos

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Gaia sunshield deployment test

Movie showing the deployment of Gaia's solar array and sunshield.

Credit: ESA

Source: ESA - Space in Videos

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