Liftoff of Vega VV06 carrying LISA Pathfinder on 3 December 2015 from Europe's Spaceport, French Guiana.
LISA Pathfinder will test key technologies for space-based observation of gravitational waves. These ripples in the fabric of spacetime are predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity but have not yet been directly detected.
To demonstrate the fundamental approach that could be used by future missions to observe these elusive cosmic fluctuations, LISA Pathfinder will realise the best free-fall ever achieved in space. It will do so by reducing all the non-gravitational forces acting on two cubes and monitoring their motion and attitude to unprecedented accuracy.