LISA owes it evolution to LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravity-wave Observatory). LISA’s instruments are by far the most delicate ever made to directly detect gravitational waves. Think of buoys in the ocean being affected by ocean waves. Comparatively the triple satellites known collectively as LISA will act like buoys as gravitational waves pass through them. Three core technologies exist in LISA, gravitational reference sensors, micronewton thrusters, and laser interferometry.

Disturbances from the light of the Sun and its small variation, variable solar magnetic field, and variable gravitational effects of the Earth will be counteracted. The spacecraft structure will act as a shield against disturbances from the sun and LISA's orbit 20 degrees in the rear of Earth orbit will minimize Earth's gravitational effects. Second type of disturbances is emitted from the space craft computer. To counteract internal disturbances, the spacecraft will follow test masses with a precision of 10 nanometers. This mode of position operation is called drag free, similar in operation of low Earth orbiting satellites.

Microthrusters are fired any time there is a shift to keep the spacecraft in formation. The triangular formation of the crafts separate each by a distance of 5,000,000 kilometers. This formation will enable LISA to detect gravitational shifts with an accuracy of 10 picometers.