Find below an outline timeline for the launch of Gaia on 19 December 2013. See notes below table for details. All times subject to change. Follow launch live via ESA TV, starting 08:50 GMT (09:50 CET).
Timeline 19 December 2013
Gaia will be launched on a Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It will be operated by teams at ESOC, ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.
Once in orbit and during normal operations, ESA’s most powerful ground stations – the 35 m-diameter Deep Space Antennas at Cebreros (Spain) and New Norcia (Australia) – will relay information to and from the spacecraft.
Science operations will be conducted from ESAC, the European Space Astronomy Centre, Villafranca, Spain.
Note that all times below are subject to change and are provided for general reference only.
|18-Dec||19:12||20:12||-14:00||ESOC countdown start|
|18-Dec||20:12||21:12||-13:00||Gaia switched ON|
|19-Dec||03:12||04:12||-06:00||Network countdown start|
|19-Dec||07:12||08:12||-02:00||Shift handover in Main Control Room (B- to A-team); handover briefing 15 min before|
|19-Dec||08:22||09:22||-00:50||Roll Call: voice roll call on the briefing intercom loop|
|19-Dec||08:57||09:57||-00:15||Gaia switched to internal power|
|19-Dec||09:02||10:02||-00:10||Final ESOC GO/NOGO|
|19-Dec||09:14||10:14||00:02||First stage separation|
Aerodynamic fairing no longer needed once above the atmosphere
|19-Dec||09:17||10:17||00:05||Second stage separation|
|19-Dec||09:21||10:21||00:09||Upper stage (Gaia+Fregat composite) separation|
|19-Dec||09:25||10:25||00:10||Fregat first burn|
About 76 sec
Fregat coast phase
|19-Dec||09:49||10:49||00:21||Fregat second burn|
About 15 min 34 sec
|19-Dec||09:51||10:51||00:39||Acquisition of signal from Fregat (via Perth Station, Australia)|
Gaia separation from Fregat (H0 + 00:42:00)
|19-Dec||09:57||10:57||00:45||Exact separation time reported to Flight Director|
|19-Dec||10:12||11:12||01:00||Switch to X-band tracking in Perth Station|
|19-Dec||10:42||11:42||01:30||Official separation fax from Arianespace - includes launch vehicle details and orbital parameters|
|19-Dec||13:12||14:12||04:00||Preliminary orbit assessment by ESA Flight Dynamics|
|23-Dec||09:12||10:12||96:00||End of Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP)|
- All times are forecast only and subject to change
- Times shown in italics are approximate
- MET: Mission elapsed time as counted at ESOC
- CET: Central European Time (winter)
- Timeline sources: ESA