Tag Archives: soyuz

Some Gaia numbers

We have heard and read many numbers about Gaia: the number of stars and other objects that it will observe, the maximum observable magnitude, the microarcsecond of accuracy and the remarkable focal length of 35 m. We have also read that such a powerful telescope on Earth would be able to detect a button on the spacesuit of an astronaut on the Moon. But let’s look at more hidden numbers. It took over 3.5 million hours to study, design, build and test Gaia. That’s about 300 people working full time for 7 years, spread over 74 different companies and 16 countries. Meanwhile the design and implementation of the science and the operations...

Inspecting the Soyuz facilities

The previous blog entries have given an overview of the activities of the last few weeks: from the arrival of the spacecraft in Kourou to the successful test of the Launch and Acquisition Mode (LAM) – the initial operational mode of the spacecraft during and after launch up to the contact with the ground stations. Another recent activity was the inspection of the Soyuz facilities and especially the VS06 rocket (Soyuz Flight number 6), which will now launch Gaia, after the switch with the O3B project. The first thing that catches your eye is a depot with 40 massive containers that are shipped from St. Petersburg by boat. The Soyuz facility stores...