Gaia in the UK

Taking the Galactic Census

Mission operations

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The Gaia mission is designed to take 5 years, with the possibility of 12 to 18 months extension. Over that period there are planned to be a few intermediate data releases with increasing detail in the data released (see Data Processing Cycles). The final data release is planned for 3 years after the end of the mission, so will be around 2022 or 2023.

Gaia phases

Mission operations will undergo six phases, listed in the table below (based on Mercier E., Hoar J., 2013,  Gaia Science Ground Segment Operations Plan, GAIA-C1-PL-ESAC-JSH-033-06).

Gaia phases

Time

ESA Phase

ESA Name

DPAC Phase

DPAC Activities

2010-13

D1

verification

verification

operations validation activities

2013-14

D2

commissioning

initialization

DPAC participation in spacecraft commissioning and qualification of the schedule-critical items (SCIs) with real data. The DPAC initialization phase will be done during the Data Processing Cycle 00 (baseline)

2014-16

E1a

early mission

nominal operational phase

routine processing of daily and cyclic software systems

2016-19

E1b

late mission

nominal operational phase

routine processing of daily and cyclic software systems

2019-20

E2

extended mission

extended operational phase

extension of the processing of daily and cyclic software systems

2020-23

F

post mission

post mission

reprocessing of mission data

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Gaia milestones

The mission milestones are (Mercier E., Hoar J., 2013,  Gaia Science Ground Segment Operations Plan, GAIA-C1-PL-ESAC-JSH-033-06):

  • Launch, planned for December 2013,
  • Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP): Launch + 12 days,
  • L2 insertion: Launch + 1 month,
  • In-Orbit Commissioning Review (IOCR): Launch + 4 months (the IOCR took place on 18 July 2014),
  • Start of routine operations: Launch + 4 months (routine operations started on 25 July 2014),
  • DPAC/ Science Operations Centre (SOC) mid-term Operations Review: Launch + 35 months (TBC),
  • Review for End of routine operations: IOCR + 60 months,
  • Option 1: mission extension is approved
    • End of one year of mission extended operation: IOCR + 72 months,
    • Start of 3 years post-operational period: IOCR + 72 months,
    • End of mission: IOCR + 108 months.
  • Option 2: mission extension is not approved
    • Start of 3 years post-operational period: IOCR + 60 months,
    • End of mission: IOCR + 96 months.

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Page last updated: 29 July 2014