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Past Missions

LISA Pathfinder

2020

LISA Pathfinder

LISA Pathfinder paved the way for future missions by testing in flight the very concept of gravitational wave detection: it will put two test masses in a near-perfect gravitational free-fall and control and measure their motion with unprecedented accuracy. LISA Pathfinder is using the latest technology to minimise the extra forces on the test masses, and to take measurements.
 
ICE-CSIC lead the Spanish contribution to the mission through the Gravitational Astronomy – LISA group.  Spain is one of the eight signatories of the Multilateral Agreement (MLA) between ESA and Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Spanish contribution started on 2004, led by Prof. Alberto Lobo, and consists in the Data and Diagnostics Subsystem (DDS), which include the payload control computer, also known as the Data Management Unit (DMU) and a set of high-precision and high-estability sensors and actuators to monitor the environment of the test masses in LISA Pathfinder, the Diagnostic Items (ITs).  

Warwick 1

2017

Warwick 1

 |  Björn Lodbrok

The leading institutions behind the Warwick 1 are the University of Warwick (UK) and the Institute of Space Sciences, together with a number of participating institutions (Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, John Moores University-Liverpool, Keele University, University of Leicester).

The Institute of Space Sciences has committed itself to carrying out a number of different aspects of the project, involving both hardware and software. In particular, these aspects are:

1) The two-arm instrument including the optical and mechanical design and construction, and the provision of the infrared filter and camera. Such camera contains a state-of-the art CCD detector employing sophisticated deep-depletion technology that enhances its sensitivity to infrared light.

2) An autoguiding system in a closed-loop fashion that uses the images from the camera to correct for drifts in the tracking motion of the telescope. This is one of the key elements permitting the highest precision possible in the photometry.

3) The robotic control software suite that must guarantee the safe operation of the telescope in fully automatic and unattended manner. In this case, the technology employed has been developed by the IEEC and implemented already at the Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM).


MAGIC

From 2006 to 2017

MAGIC

The Institute participate in the science exploitation of the experiment from 2006 to 2017, leaving the collaboration in June that year. We have several times lead (in terms of 2 years each) the Galactic Working Group (including in the first two years of the experimetn) and participated in the Board, the Time Allocation Committee, the Key Projects Committee, and others along our decade of involvement.


IRAIT

From 2006 to 2015/2016

IRAIT (International Robotic Antarctic Infrared Telescope)

 |  Björn Lodbrok

Our contributions (together with the University of Granada), have been mainly focused in developing the moving optical system for the secondary (M2) and tertiary (M3) mirrors of the telescope. Moving parts of the optical system provide focusing and chopping capabilities, implemented in M2, and a rotation mechanism, implemented in M3, allow observation in either Nasmyth foci.

The work  package includes the design and construction of both mirrors, the mechanical supports, the electronics and the control software, all prepared to work at the low temperatures at Antarctica. A Spanish company, fully space qualified, NTE, was contracted to carry out the instrument. Tests at low temperature and integration in the telescope were finished during summer 2006, and sent to Antartica.