Herschel & Planck

Launch Time
Thu May 14, 2009 13:12 UTC

Flight V188.


Ariane 5 ECA
Image Credit: Arianespace
Status: Retired
Price: $200.0 million
Liftoff Thrust: 15,120 kN
Payload to LEO: 21,000 kg
Payload to GTO: 10,500 kg
Stages: 2
Strap-ons: 2
Rocket Height: 53.0 m
Fairing Diameter: 5.4 m
Fairing Height: 17.0 m

Mission Details

Herschel Space Observatory

The Herschel Space Observatory was a space observatory built and operated by the European Space Agency (ESA). It was active from 2009 to 2013 and was the largest infrared telescope ever launched, carrying a 3.5-metre (11.5 ft) mirror and instruments sensitive to the far infrared and submillimetre wavebands (55–672 µm). Herschel was the fourth and final cornerstone mission in the Horizon 2000 programme, following SOHO/Cluster II, XMM-Newton and Rosetta. NASA is a partner in the Herschel mission, with US participants contributing to the mission; providing mission-enabling instrument technology, and sponsoring the NASA Herschel Science Center (NHSC) at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center and the Herschel Data Search at the Infrared Science Archive.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 3,400.0 kg
Sun–Earth L2


Planck was a space observatory operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) from 2009 to 2013, which mapped the anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at microwave and infrared frequencies, with high sensitivity and small angular resolution. The mission substantially improved upon observations made by the NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). Planck provided a major source of information relevant to several cosmological and astrophysical issues, such as testing theories of the early Universe and the origin of cosmic structure. Since the end of its mission, Planck has defined the most precise measurements of several key cosmological parameters, including the average density of ordinary matter and dark matter in the Universe and the age of the universe.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 1,950.0 kg
Sun–Earth L2


ELA-3, Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana, France



28th orbital launch attempt


176th mission
2nd mission of 2009
169th successful mission
32nd consecutive successful mission

Ariane 5

44th mission
2nd mission of 2009
40th successful mission
30th consecutive successful mission