Deployment of Gaia's sunshield assembly
Animation showing the deployment of Gaia's 10.5 m-wide sunshield assembly. It consists of 12 long rectangular panels covered with multilayer insulation blankets, and 12 triangular sections to fill in the gaps. The underside of the skirt is covered with solar panels to generate electricity to power the spacecraft. The sunshield also shades Gaia's sensitive telescopes and instruments, keeping them cool at a stable temperature below -100°C.