Wednesday, 5 November 2014

CGS SpA delivered the inertial sensors of the LISA Pathfinder mission

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Important step forward for the space mission LISA Pathfinder, with the participation of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).
LISA Pathfinder, planned to be launched in 2015, shall test the technologies used in the eLISA project (evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). This is a very high technology experiment, capable to analyse our universe from a radically new perspective: the first space-based gravitational wave observatory has recently been included in the ESA’s future programmes. The observatory will revolution our knowledge of the universe, paving the way for a new type of astronomy: the gravitational astronomy.

The inertial sensors, key elements of the mission, were delivered a few days ago, in Milan,  During a ceremony at the headquarters of the Italian producer, Compagnia Generale dello Spazio (CGS spa), on funding from the Italian Space Agency (ASI), designed by scientists from the University of Trento, supported by the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). The Experimental Gravitation Group of the University of Trento - Department of Physics - coordinate by Professor Stefano Vitale played a fundamental role in the sensors’ designing. The team is a member of the eLISA scientific team and principal investigator of the LISA Pathfinder mission. 

"The exploration of the gravitational universe is possible only thanks to a gravitational observatory and it will revolution astrophysics, cosmology and basic physics. These researches will foster enormous progress in our understanding of the universe", commented Vitale. 

A large audience attended the presentation ceremony, together with the scientists and engineers who cooperated for a decade for the implementation of the inertial sensors. Among the speakers Roberto Aceti, CGS managing director,Stefano Vitale, principal investigator of the project and coordinator of the research group of the University of Trento, together with the representatives of the institutions involved in the LISA Pathfinder, among whom the ASI President, Roberto Battiston, the INFN President Fernando Ferroni, the pro-rector of the University of Trento, Paolo Collini and Fabio Favata, head of the Science Planning and Community Coordination Office of the European Space Agency (ESA). 

The inertial sensors will now be integrated and tested with the other HW, in view of the mission launch, planned for July 2015. 

More information on the LISA project is available in the attached  Press release.