The impressive list of achievements ranging from the first direct observation of gravitational waves (GW) in 2015 to the more recent successes marks unequivocally our entry and permanence in the era of gravitational astronomy and cosmology.
The large-class LISA mission (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna), currently in study phase with foreseen launch in 2034, shows the commitment of the European Space Agency (ESA) to expand our gravitational window of observation to space, at the moment still ground-based, albeit glorious.
In the effort of evaluating feasibility and assess risks for space-borne GW observatories, ESA has flown a test mission for the LISA concept (LISA-Pathfinder, 2015-2017). LISA-Pathfinder boasted a high precision free-fall in-flight system near the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L1, relying on key technologies for noise-suppression, thrust and interferometry never used before in space environments. LISA-Pathfinder went beyond expectations and has helped favouring the approval of LISA and ferry its realization closer in time.
We will describe the LISA observatory and show its qualities as gravitational instrument in the low frequency bandwidth, sketching the science it will deliver with respect to the observable sources. We shall show how LISA is made possible with the technology and performance of LISA-Pathfinder, and detail the amazing features of both machines and missions.
Dr Michele Armano is a scientist with 17 years of technical and managerial experience on space missions in microgravity and precision timing. Specialist in space operations, ground segment activities, data handling, and analysis coordination. Expert in fundamental physics, general relativity, gravitation, cosmology, signal analysis, fluid mechanics, and geophysics. University lecturer in aerospace engineering. Regularly publishing in international journals and frequently invited to lecture at conferences and public events.