SpaceX Successfully Launches Euclid Telescope to Probe Dark Matter

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Aerospace company SpaceX has successfully launched the European Space Agency’s (ESA) orbital observatory, Euclid, intended for studying dark matter and dark energy. The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the space telescope took off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida, and the first stage of the carrier performed a soft landing on a special floating platform about eight minutes after launch.

Image Source: SpaceX

The Euclid space observatory separated from the second stage of the carrier about 41 minutes after takeoff and continued its journey to its destination at the Lagrange L2 point in the Sun-Earth system, 1.5 million km away from our planet. Its position at the Lagrange point allows the telescope to maintain a relatively stable orbit. Notably, the James Webb Space Telescope, launched by NASA last year, also operates in this orbit.

It is believed that dark matter and dark energy constitute a large part of the universe, but these phenomena cannot be observed in the visible wave spectrum. For studying dark matter and dark energy, the Euclid telescope will employ the VISible Imager (VIS) and the Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP). Throughout Euclid’s six-year mission, the observatory will capture images of billions of galaxies and stars. This data will allow scientists to learn more about dark matter and dark energy. If all goes as planned, the telescope will start transmitting data back to Earth next year.

Image Source: ATG / ESA, CC BY-SA

Interestingly, the initial plan was to launch the Euclid observatory using a Russian Soyuz carrier rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, with Arianespace acting as the launch operator. However, following tensions in Ukraine, cooperation on many joint space projects between Russia and Western countries was halted.

Author Profile

Vasyl Kolomiiets
Vasyl Kolomiiets
I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.

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