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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 21:24 EDT
Planck cruising to L2
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Planck cruising to L2

May 26, 2009
Herschel and Planck will be launched together on an Ariane 5 from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellites will be placed inside the fairing of the launcher; Planck at the bottom, Herschel on top. They will separate shortly after launch and proceed independently to different orbits around the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, or L2. The boosters of the Ariane 5 will burn for slightly less than 2.5 minutes and its main and upper stage engines for about 25 minutes to set Herschel and then Planck on the path to L2.

On reaching L2, Planck will be injected into a Lissajous orbit (a kind of orbit that winds around a torus without closing onto itself) using the onboard thrusters.