Yes, finally we can spread the news: The In-Orbit Commissioning Review (IOCR) for Gaia was successfully concluded on July 18. The ESA Gaia project team handed over the responsibility for the satellite to the Gaia mission team under the leadership of Wil O’Mullane, the new Gaia Mission Manager.
Now, 11 days later this news has been published by ESA. That was not very fast – we agree on that. But notice that ESA is very busy with the Rosetta mission going into the most interesting phase now, the final ATV will be launched soon and many things more. And we have an astronaut on-board the ISS. And do not forget that we have the holiday season already. To organize this publication was really complicated. 😉
Gaia has started the normal operations already last Friday and will now observe the sky for 28 days in the so-called Ecliptic Pole Scanning Law (EPSL). This scanning law allows to observe a high number of stars near the Ecliptic poles very often to allow an initial photometric calibration of the instrument.
For more details please see this release of ESA:
Even more details are available here:
In the operational phase the news about the Gaia mission will be rare. Thus, please do not expect many publications here until the release of the first catalogue with Gaia data expected for the summer of 2016.
In the meantime ESA will publish all news about the progress of the mission via their Twitter accounts:
News will also be posted on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ESAGaiaMission .
The team I am part of will also update you on Twitter as @GaiaUB and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GaiaUB .
In this blog I will continue to post more about my non-Gaia activities . You see the topics listed at the left side of this page. Feel free to open one or the other topic and you will be surprised. 😉