Congratulations to the entire team at European Space Agency - ESA's Euclid Space Telescope - which successfully launched today on a SpaceX Falcon 9.
Setting out on its mission to study how gravity, dark energy and dark matter shaped the evolution of the Universe.
Alongside a £37 million investment from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) the STFC contributed to design and development work on Euclid instrumentation and played a key role funding UK astronomy teams who will be analysing the data coming from the mission.
Executive Chair at Science and Technology Facilities Council and UKRI Space Sectror Champion Professor Mark Thomson said:
“Euclid will answer some of the biggest and most profound questions we have about the Universe and dark energy. Congratulations to everyone involved in the design, construction and launch of Euclid – we are opening a new window on the cosmos.
“This is a fantastic example of close collaboration between scientists, engineers, technicians, and astronomers across Europe working together to tackle some of the biggest questions in science.”
Once operational Euclid will create a 3D map of the Universe, with the third dimension representing time. By observing billions of galaxies scientists will be able to chart the position and velocity of galaxies over immense distances and trace the way the Universe has expanded over time.
Led by ESA and a consortium of 2,000 scientists across 16 countries, Euclid will spend six years venturing through space with two scientific instruments: a UK-built visible imager (VIS) that will become one of the largest cameras ever sent into space, and a near infrared spectrometer and photometer, developed in France.
Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, Dr Paul Bate, said:
“Watching the launch of Euclid, I feel inspired by the years of hard work from thousands of people that go into space science missions, and the fundamental importance of discovery – how we set out to understand and explore the Universe.
“The UK Space Agency’s £37 million investment in Euclid has supported world-class science on this journey, from the development of the ground segment to the build of the crucial visible imager instrument, which will help humanity begin to uncover the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.”
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