Airbus: ESA Planetary Research Satellite on Track for Launch
Airbus completed construction and integration of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Characterising Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) at its Madrid-Barajas facility in Spain, putting the satellite on track for its scheduled launch on an Arianespace Soyuz rocket later this year.
CHEOPS will now be sent to France, Switzerland and The Netherlands for a comprehensive test campaign that will start July 9 and include a complete set of functional and environmental tests to ensure that the spacecraft is fit for launch. The satellite will then return to Madrid for final functional tests and a final inspection before it is shipped to Arianespace’s Kourou launch facility in French Guiana.
CHEOPS was built as a result of a scientific partnership between ESA and Switzerland. Once the satellite arrives in its designated Sun-synchronous orbit, it will embark on a scientific mission to define the properties of planets orbiting nearby stars using a Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope supplied by the University of Bern, Switzerland. The mission will last for at least three and a half years.