Logo Gaia
GAIA satellite
6th corner stone of the Horizon 2000 programme of the ESA.
3 detectors at the focal plane of an unique telescope : astrometry, photometry, spectrum for radial speed
Mapping of part of our galaxy.
In orbit at Lagrange L2 point
Lifetime: 5 years

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Project main steps


GAIA is an astronomy mission, sixth corner stone of the scientific programme of the European Space Agency including the missions Rosetta, Herschel, Planck, Lisa and BepiColombo.

Its mission is extremely ambitious, it is to map a part of our galaxy by positionning and characterizing one billion stars or other astronomical objects. Beside this "astronomical" quantity objective, GAIA also has ambitious precise positionning objectives: from 300 µas (micro arc-second) for the less bright stars (magnitude 20) to 7 µas for the brightest (magnitude 12); by comparison 24 µas corresponds to the thickness of a hair at 1000 km!

GAIA will realise the mapping of our galaxy in three dimensions, by estimating the distances of the stars to the Earth and their own speed. Beyond this astrometry mission d'astrométrie, GAIA will probably discover and inventory tens of thousands of objects unknown to this day: brown and white dwarfs, supernovae, dwarf planets and asteroids of the solar system... and the awaited exoplanets.

CNES is committed to realise a part of the scientific processing for the scientific community and the ESA.

Gaia, our Galaxy revealed by CNES (in French)

Latest update 02/10/2014
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October 2, 2014
First Gaia Satellite Spectra. More...
End of July 2014
Gaia Satellite end of In Orbit Commissionning Phase. More...
May 2014
Half-yearly workshop for the Coordination Unit 4 at CNES, Toulouse. More...
February 6, 2014
GAIA comes into focus. More...
January 27, 2014
GAIA, the first data arrive. More...
January 8, 2014
GAIA enters its operational orbit. More...
December 19, 2013
GAIA satellite successful launch!More...
Betwin December 19, 2013 and January 5, 2014
Launch, Beginning of transfer toward Lagrange L2 point
End of the In-Flight Commissioning, beginning of the operational processing at DPC
End of the in-flight mission, beginning of the "Extended Mission" precessings
End of the scientific mission, publication of final results.
Podcast Ciel&Espace
Gaia's advanture, mapping the Galaxy
Téléchargez les podcasts :
1st part - 2nd part - 3rd part (in french)
Gaia, the map of the sky in 3D
Download the Podcasts:
1st part - 2nd part (in french)