21 Sep 2009



The Planck mission measured the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the echo of the Big Bang itself, using sensitive radio receivers operating at extremely low temperatures.

Artist's impression of Planck



These receivers were capable of distinguishing temperature variations of about one microkelvin. These measu​​rements have been used to produce the best maps of anisotropies in the CMB radiation field, these anisotropies can tell us how the first structure formed and evolved in the Universe to form the galaxies and clusters of galaxies that we see today.​

​RAL Space Involvement

RAL Space has provided thermal analysis for the design of the system, as well as the cooling stage that reduces the temperature from 20K to 4K, using a Joule-Thomson system. RAL built the 4K JT cooler for Planck​ also.​


Main Objectives
Planck's primary science objective is to Map Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies.

Launch Date
14th May 2009

ESA; CNES and CNRS/INSU-IN2P3-INP (France); ASI, CNR, and INAF (Italy); NASA and DoE (USA); STFC and UKSA (UK); CSIC, MINECO, JA, and RES (Spain); Tekes, AoF, and CSC (Finland); DLR and MPG (Germany); CSA (Canada); DTU Space (Denmark); SER/SSO (Switzerland); RCN (Norway); SFI (Ireland); FCT/MCTES (Portugal); ERC and PRACE (EU).​

Further Project Information

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries

Contact: RAL Space Enquiries