Dr Stephen Serjeant reacts to successful launch of the Herschel and Planck satellites

Uploaded by OUlife on 15.05.2009

Herschel has just launched with Planck
and, my God...
It's really heart stopping.
You work for so long on this mission
and it's going up on the top of this big firework
and in two minutes it's in space
and they're surrounded by explosives
and it's years and years of your life and now it's up there.
I'm just so relieved, there's no words for it really.
What was the most heart-stopping moment for you?
It's got to be the launch.
As the rockets are taking off from the ground
to the first stage separation.
By the time of that first stage separation
cluster satellites have already blown up
and it's really very dangerous because so many things can go wrong.
So those first few moments are just terribly dangerous for the mission.
And now we're past that so that's great.
The next thing is to see whether the instruments work.
They worked on the ground and now we've got to find out
whether they work in space and it's such a different environment.
You never know quite what's been shaken up in the launch.
It's a very violent thing, launching,
so you never know if the moving parts
are all going to work in the same way.
But, yeah, fingers crossed.
We're not quite out of the woods yet but the worst is over.
When will you be out of the woods? When will you be happy?
When will I be happy?
When we've got the science verification data,
performance verification data.
We know the instruments are working
and we can prove that we can do the science that we want to do
with this telescope
and the data will come in about September
but we'll get early indications before that.
So over the course of the next few months or in the next few weeks,
we're seeing whether the spacecraft is working,
the instruments are working, the electronics are still working
So it's all going to happen soon but the worst is over.