03 July 2023
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A new space observatory is flying across the void after a dramatic launch atop a SpaceX rocket Saturday (July 1), but its journey has just begun.
The European Euclid space telescoe began its long journey to deep space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 11:11 a.m. EDT (1511 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Florida’s Space Coast.
“You can imagine all the tension and all the pressure that is on people,” European Space Agency director-general Josef Aschbacher said at a briefing after the launch Saturday (July 1). He added not all the tension has dissipated yet.
“It was really a fantastic launch — from the insertion of the spacecraft into orbit separation,” he noted. But he said researchers are anxious to the point “where the various instruments are being switched on. This takes a couple of weeks.”
The space observatory will now spend the next month commuting to the sun-Earth Lagrange point 2, which is about 1 million miles (1.5 million km) away from our planet on the opposite side of the sun.
Next comes a complex sequence of tests and observations to make sure its two instruments are ready to go before it is cleared for its ultimate mission: to find evidence of invisible dark matter and dark energy and how it is shaping our universe, Euclid project manager Giuseppe Racca told Space.com.