1.) Very good news! Based on information on Twitter by @esaoperations Gaia has just finished to brake successfully into an orbit around the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, shortly called L2. This orbit will be the place where the real observations by the instruments of Gaia will take place during the 5-year nominal mission and hopefully 1-2 years of extended mission. You can learn all about this critical manoeuvre in the latest post of the ESA Gaia blog: http://blogs.esa.int/gaia/2014/01/07/the-flight-dynamics-expertise-behind-gaias-critical-manoeuvre/. This manoeuvre is/was much more complicated than you may think!
2.) Over the weekend the focal plane of Gaia including all the 106 CCDs was activated for the first time in space. Some first images were taken for test purposes only in some unusual modes. Please have a look here at this ESA website: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia/news_20140106.
This article was written by William O’Mullane, the Gaia Science Operations Manager. This leads to the following news.
3.) William O. Mullane has uploaded nice photos, among other things from the Gaia launch campaign in Kourou, at his Flickr site http://www.flickr.com/photos/womullan/page1/. Many known faces there! Feel free to take a look behind the curtain! Some images from the commissioning phase work for the Gaia mission can be seen there, too. Thank you, Will!
Update 08/01/2014: Here you can find the statements from ESA: