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ESA’s billion-star surveyor, Gaia, is set to embark on a five-year mission to map the stars with unprecedented precision. It is currently scheduled for launch on board the legendary Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 09:12 GMT on Thursday 19th December 2013.
Gaia will produce a catalogue of the celestial objects in the Milky Way thanks to astrometry, the science of measuring the distances and movements of stars.
The first person to catalogue the stars was the Greek astronomer Hypparchus 2000 years ago. Thus the name Hipparcos given to the first ESA Astrometry mission launched in 1989 which produced a catalogue of the stars which is now the reference for all astronomers.
Soon Gaia will produce the most extensive and accurate catalogue of the objects in our Milky way -100 times more accurate and all-encompassing than that produced by Hipparcos.
This video recalls the Hipparcos mission. It includes images of Hipparcos launch in Kourou and interviews with Professeur Pierre Lacroute, the French Astrophysicist who had the idea of the Hipparcos mission and Giuseppe Sarri, ESA Gaia Project Manager.
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- Satellite Parameters
Eutelsat 9A at 9 degrees E, transponder 59, downlink frequency 11900.1 horizontally polarised, symbol rate 27,500 FEC 2/3.