An overview on LISA Pathfinder mission
LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) Pathfinder is a dedicated technology
demonstration mission for planned interferometric space-borne gravitational wave
observatories, for example eLISA. The goal of the mission is to test the key
technology components for eLISA by measuring the differential acceleration between
two test masses inside a single co-orbiting spacecraft with unprecedented accuracy.
In order to perform the experiment, it is necessary that one test mass is
electrostatically served to the other. These forces represent a dominant noise
source in differential acceleration. To suppress this effect, a ‘free-fall’
configuration has been realized: the actuation on one of the two test masses is
limited to short impulses, so that it is in free fall between two successive kicks,
while the other test mass is drag-free. In this talk I will briefly present this
mission and the contribution of the University of Trento.