January 30, 2009 — Vol. 2, Issue 1
View from the Outside
ESA Prepares to Launch Herschel/Planck
The European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing for the joint launch of its Herschel and Planck spacecraft in the spring of 2009.
The two spacecraft are set to launch on an Ariane 5 launch vehicle in April from the Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) in Kourou, French Guiana. They will separate shortly after launch.
Herschel will be the largest infrared space observatory launched to date. Its telescope has a primary mirror with a diameter of 3.5 meters. It follows in the footsteps of the US-Dutch-British Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS)
, ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO)
, and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope
Planck will provide a map of cosmic microwave background radiation at a higher resolution than has previously been achieved. It will build on earlier research of cosmic microwave background radiation conducted by NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE)
and Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)
Read more about Herschel.
Read more about Planck.