Projects: Past Missions
Launch date: 3 December 2015
Retired: 18 July 2017
LISA Pathfinder was an ESA technology test mission for the eLISA/NGO mission to search for gravitational waves generated by massive objects such as black holes. NASA contributed one of two payloads, named ST-7.
LISA Pathfinder paved the way for eLISA/NGO. It tested new methods of spacecraft control and determined if laser interferometry is feasible at the level of accuracy required by eLISA/NGO.
LISA Pathfinder placed two test-masses in a nearly perfect gravitational free-fall, for controlling and measuring their motion with unprecedented accuracy. This was achieved through state-of-the-art technology comprising inertial sensors, a laser metrology system, a drag-free control system, and an ultra-precise micro-propulsion system.
All these technologies are essential not only for eLISA/NGO—they also lie at the heart of any future space-based test of Einstein's General Relativity. LISA Pathfinder was launched in 2015.
Final Launch Preparations for LISA Pathfinder: Images of Integration of LISA Pathfinder into VEGA rocket. Photo credit(s): ESA, Manuel Pedoussaut, 2015
Related Past Missions
The following retired missions were part of the Explorer Program, but their science is closely related to the Physics of the Cosmos Theme.
Launch date: 12 February 2016
Hitomi (formerly ASTRO-H) is an X-ray observation satellite that will explore the extreme universe, particularly high energy phenomena around black holes and supernova explosions, and clusters of galaxies filled with high-temperature plasma.
Program News and Announcements
29 July 2020
SMD calls for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from currently funded researchers for augmentations and funded extensions to existing awards to help make up for increased costs directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. » Details
29 July 2020
Community Announcement: Intention to Amend ROSES-20 via a Future Appendix for Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM). » Details
27 July 2020
Snowmass 21 planning underway, with several topical groups on PCOS-related science. » Details
23 July 2020
New deadline set for JWST Cycle 1 General Observer proposals. Proposals will be due by 08:00 pm Eastern Time (ET) on Tuesday November 24, 2020. » Details
14 July 2020
The NASA LISA Study Team has released a report by their Science Support Task Force analyzing the impact that various levels of access, latency, and user support have on the ability of the US community to maximize the discovery potential of the ESA-led LISA mission. The report was submitted to NASA on 28 Feb 2020. [PDF
] » Details
8 July 2020
NASA's Science Mission Directorate will hold a virtual community town hall with Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen and other members of the Science leadership team at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 9. » Details
7 July 2020
Second workshop to solicit and collect community input to help create a plan and timeline, or "roadmap," for SOFIA's instrument development to be held 27–29 July 2020. » Details
2 July 2020
NASA releases final text for Astrophysics Pioneers opportunity. Notices of Intent due 13 August 2020; proposals due 1 October 2020. » Details
1 July 2020
NASA releases draft text of Citizen Science Seed Funding Program. Deadline 30 July 2020. » Details
30 June 2020
NASA defers XRISM Guest Scientist Program to 2021. » Details
30 June 2020
SOFIA Cycle 9 Calls for Proposals Released. Deadline 4 September 2020. » Details
26 June 2020
Based on extensive feedback from the community, including the recent COPAG survey
and APAC discussion
, the Astrophysics Data Analysis Program will be solicited in ROSES-2021. » Details