The Planck satellite, part of the joint scientific mission, Herschel-Planck, with Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, completed its mission today. A high-tech jewel, considered, with Herschel, one of the most complex satellites ever constructed in
First European satellite dedicated to the cosmic microwave background (CMB), Planck studied this radiation by measuring temperatures fluctuations throughout the celestial sphere. The satellite s large telescope captured radiation from deep space and sent it to two radio-detection assemblies that converted these signals into temperatures. These ultra-sensitive detectors were able to record differences in temperature from deep space down to a millionth of a degree! Planck could therefore take a snapshot of the Universe as it was just 380,000 years after the Big Bang, some 14 billion years ago.
The spacecraft scanned 5 times in succession the entire sky, with the ability to discern fine details and a temperature sensitivity far superior to all of its predecessors. Planck carried a telescope fitted with a primary mirror 1.5 meters in diameter, as well as two instruments developed by astronomers and scientists from throughout
"The Planck satellite has perfectly performed its mission flawlessly, exceeding its initial technical specifications," said
The European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and
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