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NASA isn’t the only space agency using cleanrooms; the European Space Agency is also hard at work in the cleanroom.  In French Guiana the ESA is working on the Gaia spacecraft.  Gaia will be tasked at mapping the movements and measuring the brightness of stars.

 

 

Inside the ESA cleanroom, the massive sunshield was tested as it unfolded like an umbrella.  Some extra machinery was required to assist in this process, as in space it will be a zero gravity environment.  The sunshield is designed to be a protective covering for some very sensitive camera equipment and will  act as a shade, keeping the equipment at -148°F.

 

“Gaia is made up of two telescopes which need to be extremely stable, so the purpose of the sunshield is to keep the full spacecraft and the payload in the shade,” said Giuseppe Sarri, Gaia’s project manager at the European Space Agency.

 

Gaia is scheduled for launch on November 20th and will take off from French Guiana.   You can visit Spaceflightnow.com for more information and pictures of the cleanroom testing, and you can check out the video below for more information on Gaia: