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Satnews Daily
December 2nd, 2015

ESA's LISA Pathfinder's Inertial Sensor Most Sensitive Ever Manufactured ... Measures + Detects Smallest Gravitational Waves

The inertial sensor developed by CGS for the LISA Pathfinder mission

[Satnews] LISA Pathfinder is set for launch on December 3rd at 04:04 GMT (05:04 CET) on a Vega launcher from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

LISA Pathfinder is a mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and involves European space companies and research institutes from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US space agency NASA.

ESA created this mission, primed by Airbus Defence and Space, to develop and prove technologies that cannot be verified on the ground. LISA Pathfinder is a decisive step towards the realization of the first space observatory for gravitational waves that will reshape our understanding of the universe.

CGS played a significant role in the LISA Pathfinder mission starting from the initial technology development phases, back in 2001, which were carried out within the framework of ESA’s Technology Research Program (TRP) and culminated in November 2014 with the delivery of the inertial sensors. The inertial sensor successfully developed by CGS, constitutes the heart of the high-precision metrology required for the observatory. It is the most sensitive inertial sensor ever manufactured and will enable the detection and measurement of the extremely small movements induced by a passing gravitational wave.

CGS Managing Director, Roberto Aceti, said, “The LISA Pathfinder mission is a significant achievement for CGS and for all scientists and engineers who worked hard to challenge highly demanding scientific requirements. This performance puts our company in the forefront of research in fundamental physics experiments.” CGS can now be listed among the leading space companies that can master such highly demanding technologies.