I’ve been patiently waiting and waiting and waiting for about 7-years now and FINALLY!!!! We have a date — 20 November 2013.
One of the most exciting parts of Gaia is the the ability to measure the distances to the nearby stars to an accuracy of 0.001 percent and near the galactic center about 8,000 parsecs to within 20 percent as it builds up a detailed and as precise as possible 3-D all sky map.
The Gaia website.
A high-tech sunshield to protect the Gaia spacecraft during its deep space mission is now being installed at the Spaceport as preparations continue for Arianespace’s Flight VS06 Soyuz launch of the billion-star mapper from French Guiana.