06 Jan 2011



The Gaia spacecraft is surveying one percent of our galaxy by detecting and measuring the motion of each star. From this, it will build the largest​ and most precise 3D map of our galaxy to date.

Artist's impression of the Gaia spacecraft. It looks like a gold cylinder with a silver corrugated dish shape below.



​RAL Space Involvement
Set-up of the data applications centre and processing of photometric data in collaboration with industrial and academic partners. Supporting the exploitation of scientific data to be yielded from the mission.

Mission Objectives

Gaia will conduct a census of a billion stars in our Galaxy, monitoring each of its target stars about 70 times over a five-year period. It will precisely chart their positions, distances, movements and changes in brightness. It is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial objects, such as extra-solar planets and failed stars called brown dwarfs. Within our Solar System, Gaia should also observe hundreds of thousands of asteroids. 

Launch Date
19 December 2013


ESA, IoA, Cambridge University

Further Project Information 

For more information please contact, RAL Space Enquiries