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LISA Pathfinder in space
Science & Exploration

Call for Media: First results from ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission

24/05/2016 2330 views 31 likes
ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science

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 reddit social media platform, 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

(Note that the time of the AMA session has been updated.)

For further information, please contact:
ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99

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