image 24-October-2017 00:41:48

LISA Pathfinder's journey through space - annotated

Date: 27 August 2015
Satellite: LISA Pathfinder
Copyright: ESA/ATG medialab

This image illustrates LISA Pathfinder's journey from launch to its final destination, around the L1 Sun-Earth Lagrangian point some 1.5 million km away from Earth towards the Sun

Insert: LISA Pathfinder was launched on 3 December 2015 on board a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. Vega, which is specially designed to take small payloads into low Earth orbit, placed LISA Pathfinder onto an elliptical orbit, with a perigee (closest approach) of 200 km, apogee (furthest approach) of 1540 km, and inclination of about 6.5 degrees. When the final stage of the Vega rocket was jettisoned, LISA Pathfinder continued under its own power, beginning a series of six apogee-raising manoeuvres powered by its own propulsion system. These manoeuvres were completed two weeks after launch.

After this, LISA Pathfinder cruised towards its final orbiting location. On 22 January 2016, it jettisoned its propulsion module and settled into an orbit around the L1 Sun-Earth Lagrangian point.

Note: an unannotated version is available here.

Last Update: 25 January 2016

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