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The LISA Pathfinder Mission - Tracing Einstein's Geodesics in Space

The LISA Pathfinder Mission - Tracing Einstein's Geodesics in Space

Publication date: 01 April 2010

Authors: Racca, G.D. and McNamara, P.W.

Journal: Space Science Reviews
Volume: 151
Issue: 1-3
Page: 159-181
Year: 2010

Copyright: Springer

LISA Pathfinder, formerly known as SMART-2, is the second of the European Space Agency's Small Missions for Advance Research and Technology, and is designed to pave the way for the joint ESA/NASA Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission, by testing the core assumption of gravitational wave detection and general relativity: that free particles follow geodesics. The new technologies to be demonstrated in a space environment include: inertial sensors, high precision laser interferometry to free floating mirrors, and micro-Newton proportional thrusters. LISA Pathfinder will be launched on a dedicated launch vehicle in late 2011 into a low Earth orbit. By a transfer trajectory, the sciencecraft will enter its final orbit around the first Sun-Earth Lagrange point. First science results are expected approximately 3 months thereafter. Here, we give an overview of the mission including the technologies being demonstrated.

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