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Nov 24, 2021

LICIACube begins its cruise to Dimorphos. The SSDC role in the mission

The DART planetary defense mission together with its companion cubesat LICIACube has been succesfully launched through a Falcon 9 this morning at the 7:21 Italian time from the Vandenberg base (California).
As scheduled, the DART spacecraft was released 56 minutes after launch, and started its cruise phase which will end on October 2022 by impacting Dimorphos, the natural satellite of the Didymos asteroid, slightly deflecting its orbit.
LICIACube (Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids) is the first entirely Italian deep space mission, aimed at witnessing the impact and post-impact phase of DART.
SSDC is coordinating the LICIACube data management and dissemination, hosting the Science Operations Center (SOC) and developing the automated processing of the raw data received from the Argotec Mission Control Center (MCC).
The data format has been defined in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) to be compliant to the PDS4 standard, and thus both raw and calibrated data will be made available in this format to the team through the LICIACube SOC website.
Further ongoing developments will allow to access these data through the SSDC MATISSE scientific webtool, so to enable advanced functionalities for data analysis and visualization.

Dec 03, 2020

SSDC contribution to Gaia EDR3

On December 3th the Gaia collaboration has released its Gaia Early Data Release 3 catalogue.
Gaia Data Release 3 is split in two parts: the early release called Gaia Early Data Release 3 (Gaia EDR3) and the full Gaia Data Release 3 (Gaia DR3), planned for the first half of 2022.
Gaia DR3 data (both Gaia EDR3 and the full Gaia DR3) are based on data collected between 25 July 2014 and 28 May 2017, spanning a period of 34 months. As a comparison, Gaia DR2 was based on 22 months of data and Gaia DR1 was based on observations collected during the first 14 months of Gaia's routine operational phase. Gaia EDR3 catalogue contains more than 1.8 billions stars.
SSDC is one of the four ESA partner data centers for the publication and dissemination of Gaia data releases. SSDC has thus designed, developed, and made publicly available an access point to the Gaia and cross-matched external catalogues data: the GaiaPortal. SSDC is continuing to develop access, data extraction and multi-wavelength cross-match tools to enable the astronomical community to handle and fully exploit the scientific potential of this enormous archive.
In addition, SSDC is responsible for the calculation of the official cross-match of the Gaia catalogue with the largest public available optical and near-IR catalogues ensuring an all-sky, panchromatic vision of the universe.