LISA Pathfinder Prepares For Final Exams"The summer is coming and that means students across Europe are sitting their final tests. ESA's LISA Pathfinder, a technology demonstrator that will pave the way for space-based gravitational wave observatories, is no different. LISA is currently in the test centre at IABG (Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft), Ottobrunn, Germany. "Everything is running nominally and we are on schedule, which is the most important thing," says Ulrike Ragnit, AIV and launch campaign manager for LISA Pathfinder. LISA Pathfinder is a rather special spacecraft. It is designed to measure how well we can isolate a macroscopic body from all external forces except gravity. If successful, it will open the door to a new breed of spacecraft that can observe the gravitational Universe. For astronomers, this will be as if they developed a new sense, providing access to a view of the Universe that is wholly different to what they can detect now via electromagnetic radiation."


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