‘Heart’ of Herschel to be presented to media

Herschel spacecraft artist's concept
4 September 2007

ESA PR 27-2007. By the end of 2007, the assembly of the ESA’s Herschel far-infrared space observatory – the latest mission to study the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies – will be completed.

ESA and Astrium are jointly inviting the media to a press conference in Friedrichshafen, Germany, on 19 September 2007, to hear about this revolutionary spacecraft, its scientific objectives, and to view the very heart of its hardware.

The Herschel mission, equipped with the largest telescope ever launched in space (3.5 m diameter), will give astronomers their best capability yet to explore the universe at far-infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths. By measuring the light at these wavelengths, scientists see the ‘cold’ universe. Herschel will give them an unprecedented view, allowing them to see deep into star forming regions, galactic centres and planetary systems.

In order to achieve its objectives and to be able to detect the faint radiation coming from the coolest objects in the cosmos, otherwise ‘invisible’, Herschel’s detectors must operate at very low and stable temperatures. The spacecraft is equipped so as to cool them close to absolute zero (-273.15 ºC), ranging from -271 ºC to only a few tenths of a degree above absolute zero. To have achieved this particular feature alone is a remarkable accomplishment for European industry and science.

The final integration of the various components of the Herschel spacecraft – payload module, cryostat, service module, telescope and solar arrays – will be completed in the next few months. This phase will be followed by a series of tests to get the spacecraft ready for launch at the end of July 2008. Herschel will be launched into space on an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. The launch is shared with Planck, ESA’s mission to study relic radiation from the Big Bang.

Media interested to attend the press event are invited to fill in the reply form below.

Note for editors

The Prime Contractor for the Herschel spacecraft is Thales Alenia Space (Cannes, France). It leads a consortium of industrial partners with Astrium (Germany) responsible for the Extended Payload Module (EPLM, including the Herschel cryostat), Astrium (France) responsible for the telescope, and the Thales Alenia Space industry branch of Torino, Italy, responsible for the Service Module (SVM). There is also a host of subcontractors spread throughout Europe.

The three Herschel instruments were designed and built by consortia of scientists and institutes, with their own national funding. The Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) was developed under the coordination of the MPE, Germany; the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) was developed under the coordination of the Cardiff University (United Kingdom); the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI) was developed under the coordination of the SRON institute (The Netherlands).

For more information

ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33(0)1.53.69.7299
Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690

Herschel Press Day
at Astrium, Friedrichshafen, Germany
19 September 2007
Claude-Dornier-Strasse
88090 Immenstaad

09:00 h Arrival at Astrium /Check-in / Transfer to Building 8 /
Room Meersburg (5 th floor)

09:30 h Welcome, by Uwe Minne, Director of Earth Observation and Science, Astrium

09:35 h ESA and Astronomy: looking forward, by Jacques Louet, Head of Scientific Projects Department, ESA

09:45 h Herschel/Planck mission overview, by Thomas Passvogel, ESA Herschel/Planck Project Manager

09:55 h The Herschel scientific mission, by Göran Pilbratt, ESA Herschel Project Scientist

10:05 h Q & A followed by coffee break

10:30 h Herschel spacecraft overview, by Jean-Jacques Julliet, Director of European Science and Optical Observation Programmes, Thales Alenia Space

10:40 h The ‘cool’ heart of Herschel, by Wolfgang Fricke, Herschel Project Manager, Astrium

10:50 h The PACS instrument, by Albrecht Poglitsch, Principal Investigator, Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (MPE)

11:00 h The SPIRE instrument, by Matthew Griffin, Principal Investigator, Cardiff University

11:10 h The HIFI instrument, by Thijs de Graauw, Principal Investigator, Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON)

11:20 h Q & A, Individual Interviews

12:15 h Transfer to Integration Centre

12:30 h Warm / Cold Buffet on Visitor´s Galaxy
Build up of three different visitor groups

Check-in into cleanroom
Photo/video opportunity/interviews
(3 groups, 30 min. each)

14:00 h End of event

Herschel Press Day
at Astrium, Friedrichshafen, Germany
19 September 2007
Claude-Dornier-Strasse
88090 Immenstaad

First Name : __________________Surname:__________________

Media:___________________________________________________

Address:_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________

Tel:______________________ Fax:__________________________

Mobile:___________________ e-mail:_______________________

[ ] I will be attending the Herschel Press Day

Please send back this form by fax to:

Denise Achberger
EADS Astrium
Communications
88039 Friedrichshafen
Tel: +49 (0) 7545-8-9122
Fax : +49 (0) 7545-8-5589

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