Artist's impression of the GAIA spacecraft.

Mission Overview

The ESA satellite GAIA is designed to create a 3D map of our Galaxy to reveal its composition, formation and evolution. GAIA delivers the largest all-sky survey to date with high accuracy measurements of positions of 1 billion stars and radial velocities of the brightest 150 million objects in our Galaxy and the Local Group. Additionally, with GAIA, tests for general relativity and cosmology will be made and asteroids in the solar system should be investigated. Another aim of GAIA is to detect and classify extra-solar planetary systems. The mission lifetime is scheduled for 5 years.

Contribution of our Institute

The Institute of Astrophysics is involved in several aspects:

  • Visualization of data of 1 billion stars with 26 measured properties each.
  • Measuring the position of the Gaia satellite in the sky with the Leopold-Figl-Observatorium in Lower Austria. These measurements are necessary for the accuracy of the catalogue.
  • Participation in the programme 'Gaia Science Alerts', where follow-up observations of unexpected events are made, such as supernovae, stellar eruptions or gravitational lensing effects.

Involved Personnel

Mission Manager: F. Jansen

Project Scientist: T. Prusti

Deputy Project Scientist & System Scientist: J. de Bruijne

Science Operations Manager: U. Lammers

Spacecraft Operations Manager: D. Milligan

Project Manager: G. Sarri

Austrian coordinator: J. Alves


Launch date: 19 December 2013



Austrian participation: bm:vit & FFG


GAIA website

GAIA news @ Univie (in German)