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
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
16 June 2020
Senior Review of NASA Astrophysics Archives Report is now available here [PDF]
15 June 2020
Astrophysics Program Scientist civil servant positions at NASA Headquarters: open in USAJOBS June 29–July 6. » Details
15 June 2020
NASA's Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group Executive Committee (COPAG EC) is soliciting input on the impacts of COVID-19 on Cosmic Origins research via ADAP. The survey deadline has been extended until Friday, June 19, 2020
4 June 2020
Astrophysics Advisory Committee Virtual Meeting to be held June 23–24, 2020 » Details
3 June 2020
2020 Spring Meeting of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board/Space Studies Board, June 8–11, 2020 Details
3 June 2020
ROSES-20 Amendment 28: Final Text and Due Dates for Astrophysics Explorers U.S. Participating Investigators. Details
29 May 2020
Proposals for NASA's Strategic Astrophysics Technology will not be solicited in 2020, instead waiting for Decadal recommendations. » Details
28 May 2020
NASA SMD releases new five-year Science Plan, "Science 2020-2024: A Vision for Scientific Excellence." » Details
26 May 2020
NASA's Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group Executive Committee (COPAG EC) is soliciting input on the impacts of COVID-19 on Cosmic Origins research via ADAP. The survey closes on Monday, June 5, 2020
20 May 2020
NASA names WFIRST
in honor of Nancy Grace Roman
, a tireless advocate for new tools that would allow scientists to study the broader universe from space. » Details
18 May 2020
NASA releases DRAFT text for a new "Astrophysics Pioneers" opportunity. Comments due June 15, 2020
. » Details
18 May 2020
Join NASA Science Live at 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, 20 May 2020, for an exciting announcement on WFIRST! Details and participation links here
7 May 2020
Provide your input on balloon platform capabilities that could enable your science in the next 10 years by completing this survey
for NASA's Scientific Balloon Program.
29 Apr 2020
NASA SMD calls for nominations, including self-nominations, to serve on the WFIRST
Science Interest Group (WSIG). » Details
27 Apr 2020
NASA SMD anticipates one or more short-window openings this summer for civil servant Program Scientists at NASA HQ. » Details
16 Apr 2020
HaloSat Year 1 Data now eligible for funding under ADAP. » Details