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Jordi Torra & Jordi Portell: "Gaia: Three years studying the Galaxy"



Title: “Gaia: Three years studying the Galaxy”

By: J. Torra ICCUB (IEEC-UB) y J. Portell - ICCUB (IEEC-UB)

Place: Auditorium of the University of the Basque Country - Baroja hall - Abandoibarra, 3 (Bilbao, Spain)

Date-Time: 30/03/2017- 18:30h

Free entry until room is at full capacity

Registration: Web

On 30th March Jordi Torra, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Barcelona, Jordi Portell, researcher at the Institute of Cosmos Sciences ICCUB (IEEC-UB) and Diego Rodríguez, Space Director at SENER, will take part in the conference 'Gaia: Three years studying the Galaxy' organized by SENER at the Auditorium of the University of the Basque Country.

In this talk, they will present the mission's main characteristics and highlight the relevance of Spain's participation, both in the construction of the satellite itself and its systems, and in the management, validation and publication of its data.

Cellebrating the 50 anniversary SENER-space has created a Space dialogues initiative 'Diálogos d’Espacio', a meeting to spread their activities through outstanding personalities from the scientific and technological fields. For this purpose, SENER has organized a series of conferences, which can be accompanied by illustrative exhibitions, with SENER’s most relevant projects in Space.


Sener is among the Spanish firms with a higher contribution to the Gaia Mission. In particular, SENER has participated in Gaia by developing the mission deployable sunshield and the positioning mechanism for the secondary mirrors of the telescopes linking the reflector mirror to the optical bench.

The Gaia Mission

The Gaia Mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) was launched in December 2013. Since then, it has repeatedly observed more than a billion stars and other celestial objects, listed in its first star catalog, which was published on 14 September 2016.

ICCUB researchers have a leading role at the highest technological, scientific and management levels of the Gaia Data Processing & Analysis Consortium (DPAC). They have responsibilities in the Simulations, Core Processing and Photometry units, and they manage the Data Processing Center of Barcelona.

Jordi Torra

Jordi Torra is Professor at the University of Barcelona where he got his PhD in 1984. Its main research lines are the galactic astronomy, mainly in the field of kinematics and structure of the galaxy, and stellar photometry. He participated in the Hipparcos mission of the European Space Agency (ESA), the first mission devoted to space astrometry, and now leads the Spanish group participating in the Gaia mission (also ESA’s). He has also contributed to other space missions like Integral and Smart-2.

He has been principal investigator of several research projects, has published about one hundred of papers and has been advisor in ten PhDs. He has large experience in observational techniques as well as in the use of large computers.

He has been manager of the Astronomy Area of the National Plan of Research and member of the European Southern Observatory Council for the period 2007-2011. At present he is member of the European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC), of the ESA’s Astronomy Working Group, and is the coordinator of the Spanish Network of Astronomical Infrastructures.

Jordi Portell

Jordi Portell i de Mora is a researcher at the Institute of Cosmos Sciences ICCUB (IEEC-UB). He graduated in Electronic Engineering from BarcelonaTech in 2000, the year in which he started working on the ESA's Gaia mission. He developed several proposals for data management and compression on board the satellite and in 2005, the year in which he was awarded a Doctorate in Applied Physics (also from BarcelonaTech), he started working on the on-ground data processing systems.

He has been manager of the Gaia data processing center in Barcelona (operated in the supercomputer MareNostrum), and until 2016 he managed the mission's main daily data processing system. He is currently providing support for the technical coordination between Gaia's different European units and centers.

Since 2013, he has been Chief Technology Officer of the company DAPCOM, which offers high-performance data compression systems. And since 2017, he has also been Assistant Manager of the Technology Unit at the Institute of Cosmos Sciences (ICCUB).

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