The Launch

14th May 2009, 13:12:02 UT

Planck launched (along with Herschel) on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou in French Guiana on 14th May 2009. The launch was a spectacular success, and Planck separated after about 30 minutes, being sent on its way to the L2 point of the Earth-Sun system, where it will carry out its scientific mission.

Movies of the launch (mpg4 format, works best with Quicktime):


(Note: Thumbnail sizes reduced dramatically and images saved at modest jpeg quality)

Arrival in French Guiana

DS, David Naylor, Guadeloupe and Martinique

Pre-launch tour and Roll-out

Jupiter Centre (Kourou), Ariane 5 mock-up

George Smoot, Kris Gorski, Charles Lawrence

David Naylor, DS, Peter Ade, people

Jean-Michel Lamarre, Francois Bouchet, Marco Bersanelli, Gary Prezeau, Brendan Crill, Ben Rusholme, Bruce Partridge, Marco Bersanelli, people

Herschel and Planck


Soyuz launch-pad construction

Thijs de Graauw, Jean-Loup Puget, David Naylor, Peter Ade, Matt Griffin, DS

Next Ariane 5 being prepared for launch (note burn marks!)

Mission Control, George Smoot

Last close view of the Ariane 5

Francois Bouchet, Marco Bersanelli, George Smoot, DS, Charles Lawrence, Hien Nguyen

Launch Day!

Rain, Ariane in distance, and through Larry's telescope

Tarantula, Jussi Tuovinen, Graca Rocha

Watchers, Ulf Israelson, man with very large lens

Post-launch celebration

Kris Gorski, Charles Lawrence, Jean-Loup Puget, DS; Reno Mandolesi, Larry Wade; Reno, Larry, Jean-Loup; Jean-Michel Lamarre, Matt Griffin; Matt, David Naylor

Frank Helmich; Frank Helmich; George Smoot, Peggy, Reno Mandolesi; George, Peggy, Kris, Reno

Jean-Loup Puget, Dick Bond; Jean-Loup, Dick, Graca Rocha; Jean-Loup, Francois Bouchet; DS, Kris Gorski, George Efstathiou; DS, Kris, George, Larry Wade

Hotel des Roches, Kourou; Reno Mandolesi; Hotel from the sea

Boat trip to Iles du Salut

HFI catamaran, Ile Royale

Governor's house, view from restaurant, Ile du Diablo, ex-prison buildings

Kris Gorski, Charles Lawrence, DS, Thijs de Graauw, Frank Helmich

Walk up Mont Bourda

Trip towards Kaw

Waterfall at Furgassie

River at Roura, jungle view, swamp near Kaw


Common squirrel monkey, Brazilian agouti, Brown capuchin monkeys

Lizard, iguana, toad

?, ?, crabs, turtle tracks, leatherback turtle laying eggs

Butterflies and moths

Tarantula, caterpillar, spiders, dragon fly

Pale-throated, three-toed sloth

Here's a short clip of the sloth and its baby

Frigate bird, bird, toucan, humming bird, macaw, kiskadee, woodpecker

Poison-dart frog


Flowers, fungus

Trees, vines, palms, bamboo, eco-systems

Au Revoir!

Floup! Iles du Salut from the air, airport group, Haiti

(Images copyright Douglas Scott; please contact dscott"AT"astro.ubc.ca for full resolution versions)