Alvaro Giménez, ESA's Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, delivers a welcome speech during the presentation of the LISA Pathfinder launch composite to journalists, at IABG’s space test centre in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany, on 1 September 2015, before it departs to the launch site.
Slated for launch by Vega in November 2015, ESA’s gravitational-wave detection technology demonstrator is ready to begin launch preparations in September at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
LISA Pathfinder will help to open up a completely new observational window into the gravitational Universe, proving new technologies needed to measure gravitational waves in space. Predicted by Albert Einstein, these waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime and are produced by massive celestial bodies. Understanding their signature will tell scientists a lot about black holes, compact double stars and other exotic objects.