LISA Technology Package
The flight model of the LISA Technology Package (LTP) Core Assembly (LCA), pictured at the Airbus Defence and Space Friedrichshafen facility, in February 2015.
The LTP, provided by European institutes and industry, is one of two payloads, or test packages, that will be carried by the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft; the other package is the Disturbance Reduction System (DRS), provided by NASA.
LISA Pathfinder is designed to test one of the key ideas behind gravitational wave detectors – that free particles follow geodesics in space-time. The mission can show this more accurately than has been done in the past by tracking two test masses nominally in freefall, using picometre resolution laser interferometry. Several new technologies have been developed for the LTP, firstly to isolate the test masses from external forces when they get to space, and secondly to allow for the extremely small distance measurements to be performed by an onboard interferometer.
An industrial team led by the prime contractor, Airbus DS - Stevenage, is building LISA Pathfinder. Airbus DS – Friedrichshafen is the payload architect for the LISA Technology Package (LTP). The optical bench is provided by the University of Glasgow; the inertial sensors by CGS (Milan); and the mounting hardware and side walls by Airbus DS - Stevenage.