The European Space Agency's Planck satellite was launched on 14 May 2009, and has been surveying the sky stably and continuously since 13 August 2009. Its performance is well in line with expectations, and it will continue to gather scientific data until the end of its cryogenic lifetime. We give an overview of the history of Planck in its first year of operations, and describe some of the key performance aspects of the satellite. This paper is part of a package submitted in conjunction with Planck's Early Release Compact Source Catalogue, the first data product based on Planck to be released publicly. The package describes the scientific performance of the Planck payload, and presents results on a variety of astrophysical topics related to the sources included in the Catalogue, as well as selected topics on diffuse emission. © ESO, 2011.
- Cosmic background radiation
- Space vehicles