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Lisa Pathfinder launches to test space 'ripples' technology

Lisa Pathfinder launches to test space 'ripples' technology

Published: 2015-12-03 | Original Article
Attribution By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent

Lisa Pathfinder's Vega rocket clears the pad at the Kourou spaceport
Lisa Pathfinder's Vega rocket clears the pad at the Kourou spaceport

Europe has launched the Lisa Pathfinder satellite, an exquisite space physics experiment. It will test the technologies needed to detect gravitational waves - the warping of space-time produced by cataclysmic events in the cosmos. Having such a capability would make it possible to detect the merger of monster black holes - a marker for the growth of galaxies through time. Lisa Pathfinder went into orbit on a Vega rocket from French Guiana.

It lifted away from the Kourou spaceport at 01:04 local time (04:04 GMT).

The satellite is being sent in the direction of the Sun, to a point some 1.5 million km from Earth.

The expectation is that the European Space Agency (Esa) mission will operate for about a year.

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Attribution By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent