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ESA Selects Prime Contractor for Gaia

ESA Selects Prime Contractor for Gaia

11 May 2006

During a ceremony held in Toulouse on 11 May 2006, ESA officially awarded EADS Astrium the contract to develop and build the Gaia satellite. The goal of this space mission, currently planned for launch in 2011, is to make the largest, most precise map of our own Galaxy to date.

The Gaia spacecraft

The contract, worth 317 million Euros, has been jointly signed by ESA's Director of Science, Professor David Southwood, and Antoine Bouvier, Chief Executive Officer for EADS Astrium. The Toulouse branch will lead the Gaia development.

"GAIA is our next grand challenge – to understand our galactic home, the Milky Way," says David Southwood. "It is a great privilege to meet the team in EADS Astrium and to wish them well in working with us in this great project."

Gaia will be the most accurate optical astronomy satellite ever built so far. It will continuously scan the sky for at least five years from the second Lagrange point (L2). This position in space offers a very stable thermal environment, very high observing efficiency (since the Sun, Earth and Moon are behind the instrument field of view) and a low radiation environment.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
8-Aug-2022 19:27 UT

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