Liftoff of Arianespace’s Soyuz mission with Gaia
December 19, 2013 – Soyuz Flight VS06
Arianespace’s Soyuz launcher has begun its sixth flight from the Spaceport, carrying Europe’s Gaia star-mapper spacecraft for an ambitious mission to chart the Milky Way.
With an on-time liftoff from French Guiana at 6:12 a.m., the Soyuz is to deploy its payload at the completion of a nearly 42-minute flight.
Gaia has an estimated liftoff mass of 2,034 kg. and was produced by Astrium for a mission developed and operated by the European Space Agency. Gaia will monitor each of its one billion target stars approximately 70 times during a five-year period, precisely charting their positions, distances, movements and changes in brightness.
It is the 25th scientific satellite to be launched by Arianespace.