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Science & Exploration

N° 19–2016: Call for Media: First results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission

24 May 2016

Media representatives are invited to a briefing on the first results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission, a technology demonstrator for the observation of gravitational waves from space.

The media briefing is being organised by the European Space Agency at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday, 7 June, 11:30–13:00 CEST. Doors open at 11:00 CEST.

Launched in December 2015, LISA Pathfinder travelled to its operational orbit, 1.5 million km from Earth towards the Sun, where it started its scientific mission on 1 March. At the core of the spacecraft, two identical gold–platinum cubes, are being held in the most precise freefall ever produced in space.

Placing the test masses in a motion subject only to gravity is the challenging condition needed to build and operate a future space mission to observe gravitational waves. Predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago, gravitational waves are fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime, which were recently detected directly for the first time by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

Over the first two months of scientific operations, the LISA Pathfinder team has performed a number of experiments on the test masses to prove the feasibility of gravitational wave observation from space. These results will be presented at the media briefing.

Programme outline


Fabio Favata, Head of the Coordination Office, ESA Directorate of Science - Opening up the gravitational Universe for ESA’s Science Programme


Paul McNamara, ESA LISA Pathfinder Project Scientist -LISA Pathfinder: A new way to look at our Universe


Martin Hewitson, LISA Pathfinder Deputy Primary Investigator, University of Hanover - LISA Pathfinder optical metrology performance


Stefano Vitale, LISA Pathfinder Primary Investigator, University of Trento - LISA Pathfinder first results


Question and Answer sessions and opportunity for individual interviews



For accreditation, media can register at:

Please register by 6 June at 12:00 CEST.

How to get to ESAC:


Follow online


Social media

Twitter: @esascience and @ESA_LPF, hashtag #LisaPathfinder

Reddit: an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with mission experts on the social media platform reddit, where users may ask all kinds of questions, will be conducted from 14:00 to 15:00 CEST (12:00 to 13:00 GMT) on 7 June at

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 20 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office

Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99