Despite a one day delay caused thermal readings on the 4th stage, the Arianespace operated Vega launch vehicle successfully placed the Lisa Pathfinder spacecraft into orbit following its lift off from the Kourou launch site in French Guiana at 0414 GMT on 3 December 2015. The flight was the sixth successful flight (VV06) of the Vega launch vehicle. LISA Pathfinder is a joint ESA/NASA mission with the spacecraft built by Airbus Defence and Space’ plant in Stevenage UK. Vega placed LISA pathfinder into its initial elliptical orbit.
The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft which will eventually be positioned in a halo orbit at the L1 Lagrangian gravitational balance point 1.5 million km away from Earth on the Sun-Earth line will test many of the technologies which will be used by a later mission to detect “gravity waves” as postulated by Einstein.
The spacecraft will test out Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) Thrusters and Disturbance Reduction System technology that is being provided by the Busek Company and Stanford University of California along with sensors to measure the position of a spacecraft with respect to an internal free-floating mass.