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Science & Exploration

N° 29–2016: Call for media: First data release from ESA's Gaia mission

1 September 2016

Media representatives are invited to a briefing on the first data release of ESA’s Gaia mission, an astrometry mission to map the stars of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

The media briefing is being organised by ESA at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday 14 September 2016, 11:30–13:00 CEST. Doors open at 11:00 CEST.

Launched in December 2013, Gaia is destined to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. By making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of stars in the Milky Way, it will answer questions about the origin and evolution of our home galaxy.

The first data release, containing among other things three-dimensional positions and two-dimensional motions of a subset of two million stars, demonstrates that Gaia’s measurements are as precise as planned, paving the way to create the full map of one billion stars to be released towards the end of 2017.

The media briefing will provide examples of the performance of the satellite and its science data and will highlight the science that can be done with this first data release.


Programme outline


Alvaro Gimenez, Director of Science, ESA:

Astrometry with Gaia at the very core of ESA’s Science Programme



Fred Jansen, ESA Gaia Mission Manager:

Operating at the limits of precision



Timo Prusti, ESA Gaia Project Scientist:

Gaia on the way to the most precise map of our galaxy



Anthony Brown, Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, Leiden University:

A first exploration of the Gaia sky



Antonella Vallenari, Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF), Astronomical Observatory of Padua:

Gaia’s view of the nearby star clusters



Gisella Clementini, Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium Member of Coordination Unit 7, Instituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF), Astronomical Observatory of Bologna:

Gaia and the distance ladder 



Question and Answer sessions and opportunity for individual interviews



For accreditation, media can register at:

Please register by 12 September.


How to get to ESAC:


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Twitter: @esascience. Ask questions via #AskESA.



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