Deputy Director of Space Science & Technology at RAL on the Herschel Planck launch (2/8)

Uploaded by TheOpenUniversity on 03.06.2009

I'm Peter Allan, I'm deputy director
of the space, science and technology department,
here at the Rutherford Appleton laboratory.
It's been a very exciting afternoon,
where we've launched the Herschel and Planck missions.
It's always a tentative time - will everything go well?
But everything went tremendously smoothly.
A lot of people have commented that this is the first launch they've been at,
where things actually launched precisely on time.
Everything went smoothly.
We could see there were no deviations at all,
in the launch of the spacecraft.
They separated out nicely, so, everything was great.
So, big sigh of relief at the end.
It's a mission, two missions, where the UK has had a lot of involvement,
for ten years, over ten years it's taken to get to this stage.
A lot of scientists and engineers have put a lot of effort into this,
and of course the funding bodies have put a lot of money into this.
It's a European mission, primarily, the European Space Agency,
but the UK has put a lot of funding into it.
We've had a lot of efforts here at the Rutherford Appleton laboratory,
in terms of building things,
but many university groups have been involved here
and around Europe as well.
The spacecraft are now on their way,
to the place where they'll be orbiting around,
the so-called L-2 Lagrange Point,
which is in the opposite direction of the sun from the earth.
It will take a few weeks to get there, and once we get to that stage,
then we'll be turning the spacecraft on,
and checking the instruments out,
and starting to do real science with them.
So, although we've had ten years to get to this stage,
this is where it starts to get really exciting,
and we'll start to get some data out of the instruments.