On Thursday May 14th, the Araine 5 rocket blasted into space, carrying with it the Herschel and Planck telescopes. They will remain in orbit for the next 2-3 months, making valuable observations. The telescopes have a combined cost of €1.9 billion, the most expensive package that the European Space Agency’s science division has ever launched from a single rocket. Herschel is the largest telescope that has even been put in space, while Planck is a survey telescope with the sharpest sight, most sensitive instruments, and widest frequency range. The successful launching of these cutting-edge telescopes is the product of 20 years of research, and over 100 different contractors from 15 countries.
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