The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft has taken the first steps on the journey that will eventually take it to deep space. Its final destination is the Lagrange pointL1 , where it is expected to arrive at the end of November after being launched at the end of September.
The LISA Pathfinder modules were constructed in Britain and assembled on February 27, 2015. At Airbus in Stevenage (UK) the LISA Pathfinder satellite science and propulsion modules were joined in preparation for the launch. The assembled spacecraft is now on its way to IABG in Ottobrunn, Germany, where it is due to arrive in early March.
At IABG the spacecraft will undergo more pre-flight tests and await the mission payload - the LISA Technology Package LTP - , which is currently being assembled and tested at Astrium Friedrichshafen, Germany.
After the LTP is integrated into the satellite, the complete LISA Pathfinder spacecraft will be shipped to Kourou spaceport to await a launch date in late September.
Photographs courtesy of Dr. Stuart Clark (www.stuartclark.com)