Gaia: ESA's billion star surveyor – launch event at ESOC
Replay of the media and VIP event celebrating the launch of Gaia at ESOC, ESA's Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, on 19 December 2013. The audience included 50 journalists, as well as 150 guests from local government, diplomacy, industry and academia.
Liftoff occurred at 09:12 UTC/10:12 CET on 19 December and the critical deployment of Gaia's sunshield was confirmed approximately 90 minutes later. Gaia is now on its way to L2, from where it will study the characteristics of 1 billion stars to create the most precise 3D map of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.
- Dr h.c. Thomas Reiter, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations and Head of the ESOC Establishment
- Prof. Mark McCaughrean, Senior Scientific Advisor, ESA Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration
- Jean Dauphin, Director Earth Observation and Science, Astrium France (prime contractor for Gaia)
- ESA Director General Prof. Jean-Jacques Dordain
- Prof. Sergei Klioner, astronomer, Technical University Dresden
- Dr. Nicolas Walton, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
- Dr. Ulrich Bastian, Astronomisches Recheninstitut (ARI), Heidelberg
- Dr. Hubert Meisinger, astronomer & theologian
- Oskar Stocker, artist who painted Gaia scientists and engineers at work
- Dr. Markus Landgraf, Gaia mission analyst, ESA/ESOC
The event programme at ESOC was moderated by Juliet Mann.