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LISA Pathfinder Data Analysis

LPF Operations

LISA Pathfinder Data Analysis

Data analysis for LPF covers a wide range of techniques. Credit: LISA consortium

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As in all high precision experiments of its kind, data analysis plays a major role.

The commissioning and characterisation of the LISA Pathfinder satellite is a complex process expected to involve detailed measurement and tuning of various physical parameters of the system in order to achieve the main mission goals. Reaching these goals must be done under a challenging operations schedule, ensuring that the 90-day mission time-line is used most effectively. As this is a first-of-its-kind mission, the exact process by which the mission goals will be achieved is not fully known before launch. However, there is a great deal which is known and a lot that can be anticipated. As such, a large number of experiments and investigations are being designed, tested, and developed on ground so as to have a comprehensive set of procedures that can be inserted into the mission time-line on demand.

The data analysis team currently consists of about 10 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) scientists, with many contributors. This team is involved in all aspects of the data analysis effort, including the development of the planned experiments within the operational infrastructure. Again, this effort comprises three main parts: the development and testing of a data analysis infrastructure to be used during mission operations; aiding the design and analysis of the different experiments to be performed; and the development of the analysis procedures that will be used to analyse the experiments. Last, but by no means least, the team must train itself to run the analysis within the mission operations environment.