The countdown is on in French Guiana to one of the most important launches in the history of European Space Research.
This single Ariane rocket will launch two telescopes into orbit, to uncover the origins and evolution of the Universe. “I would say it is a wonderful day. It is a day you want in your professional life, the one were you are ready to launch the two biggest satellites ever made for science in Europe, Planck which will go to the origin of the universe and Herschel to observe galaxies and the formation of stellar systems, so it is a wonderful day.” said Jacques Louet, Head of the Project Department. The Herschel and Planck observatories will orbit at around 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, on its “night-side”. With a 3.5 metre diameter, Herschel is the largest telescope ever sent into space. It is capable of seeing through clouds of dust and gas to witness the moment stars are born. Planck is a survey telescope, which will map the sky with the finest measurements known to man.