A quick update from ESOC, ESA’s mission control centre for Gaia:

  • Winds (high-altitude), weather and solar activity are all green for launch
  • ESA’s Estrack ground station network reports all stations involved GO for launch
  • Stations at Perth, New Norcia (in Australia), Cebreros and Masplalomas (both in Spain) are all configured; The 15m Perth antenna is in acquisition mode – it is set to pick up first signals from the Fregat upper stage around 39 mins after liftoff.
  • All ground systems in the operations ‘ground segment’ are on and ready for launch

Ground Operations Manager Bret Durrett (the guy at left, below) says: Everything is very smooth!