German Aerospace Center (DLR) 14 May 2009, 13:50 UTC The Herschel and Planck space telescopes were successfully launched from the European spaceport in Kourou at 15:12 CEST today. The satellites were carried on their way to Lagrange point L2, around 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth, by an Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle. The two infrared telescopes are carrying high-tech German research instruments, which are financed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) using funds from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Technologie; BMWi). Herschel will study extremely cold objects in galaxies while Planck will use the cosmic background radiation to examine the primordial universe. German scientists have a significant degree of involvement in these ambitious European Space Agency (ESA) missions.
ESA Top News 14 May 2009, 11:00 UTC MP3 audio recording of ESA/ESOC Flight Operations Director John Dodsworth initiating the 'GO/NO-GO' roll call in the Main Control Room at the European Space Operations Centre. The roll call confirms that all supporting teams at ESOC are ready for Herschel-Planck launch.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope 13 May 2009, 17:00 UTC Scientists have long wondered how tiny silicate crystals, which need sizzling high temperatures to form, have found their way into frozen comets, born in the deep freeze of the solar system's outer edges.
ESA Top News 13 May 2009, 15:23 UTC At around 13:40 CEST today, 8:40 at the launch site in Kourou, the Ariane 5 carrying Herschel and Planck rolled out onto the launch pad from its earlier location in the final assembly building under blue skies complete with puffy clouds.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory News and Features 13 May 2009, 07:00 UTC NASA's Kepler spacecraft has begun its search for other Earth-like worlds.
ESA Top News 12 May 2009, 08:54 UTC The Ariane 5 that will loft Herschel and Planck into space has been declared ready for launch following the conclusion of the Launch Readiness Review held on 9 May and a close-out review held on 12 May. The launch is scheduled for 15:12 CEST on 14 May.