LISA Pathfinder operating in space
Artist's impression of LISA Pathfinder, ESA's mission to test technology for future gravitational-wave observatories in space.
LISA Pathfinder operates from a vantage point in space about 1.5 million km from Earth towards the Sun, orbiting the first Sun–Earth Lagrangian point, L1.
Results from only two months of science operations have shown that the two cubes at the heart of the spacecraft are falling freely through space under the influence of gravity alone, unperturbed by other external forces, to a precision more than five times better than originally required.
The demonstration of the mission's key technologies opens the door to the development of a large space observatory capable of detecting gravitational waves emanating from a wide range of exotic objects in the Universe.