1.) The ESA Operations section has published a very interesting article how Gaia will be operated after its launch from the European spaceport in Kourou. It gives a different perspective than usual about operating a satellite mission. Please read the article here: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Gaia.
2.) ESA has also updated its photo series about the Gaia launch campaign. Please see the latests shots showing Gaia back in launch configuration after the successful test of the sunshield here: http://t.co/9DOtyUOY1D.
3.) CNES is even showing more photos in its updated photo series about the launch processing of Gaia in Kourou. Please have a look here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pkpro/sets/72157635259431456/.
4.) Some personal thoughts about the launch delay of Gaia: It is very positive that the potential problems with the transponders of Gaia were detected before the launch. A lot of the scientific data to be collected could have been lost otherwise. This delay of the launch is a small price to pay to avoid that loss. All involved in the project are looking forward that the problems are solved soon and a new launch date can be confirmed. The next available launch window extends from December 17 to January 5. We are optimistic that Gaia will be technically ready to go at the start of this launch window. Most likely, the Ariane 5 launch with two communications satellites planned for December will launch before Gaia simply by the fact that an Ariane 5 ECA launch (VA216) is of much more value for Arianespace than a launch of small Soyuz-Fregat rocket. Arianespace is a commercial company in the end. There has been several launch delays this year already: the ATV-4 launch, the second O3B launch and some communications satellites were not ready to go in time. Now there is the delay of the Gaia launch. For the financial balance of 2013 is will be important for Arianespace to have at least the launch of this VA216 Ariane 5 in the books. And if the launch of Gaia can also be added it will even be better. Thus, let us hope for a successful Ariane 5 launch in early/mid December and a Gaia launch around Christmas time. Can there be a better time than Christmas to start a new adventure like the Gaia mission?