1.) The Soyuz-Fregat supposed to launch Gaia into space on December 19 is now in its launch configuration after mating the third stage with the central core stage. This was announced today by Arianespace: http://www.arianespace.com/news-mission-update/2013/1112.asp . The launcher will undergo final checkouts before being rolled to the launch pad a few days before the launch. At the launch pad the payload fairing (with the nice logo – see https://hvossgaia.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/gaia-news-flash-9/) with Gaia and the Fregat upperstage will be connected with the Soyuz rocket.
Update: ESA has updated its Gaia photo gallery with a few images from conneccting the third stage with the central stage of the Soyuz launcher. Note that you cannot see the engine nozzles of the third stage at any time. I have been told that this is by purpose as the Russian side wants to keep some secrets here. Please have a look at: http://sci.esa.int/gaia/31096-multimedia-archive/?farchive_objecttypeid=18,19,22&farchive_objectid=30912&fareaid_2=26.
2.) An important milestone of the prelaunch processing of the Gaia satellite itself was concluded today as the fueling process of the Gaia satellite was successfully finished as announced by this tweet from Kourou by the QA engineer of Gaia:
We are getting closer and closer to the launch I guess. 😉
Update: As always, Isabelle, the QA engineer of Gaia, has the first report about the fueling of Gaia out: http://reves-d-espace.com/2013/12/06/gaia-remplissage-du-satellite-termine/. Merci!