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Airbus Prepares Cheops Satellite

By | March 29, 2019
The finalized Cheops satellite. Photo: Airbus

The finalized Cheops satellite. Photo: Airbus

Airbus Defense and Space completed construction of the Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (Cheops) satellite. The European Space Agency (ESA) recently gave the green light at the Qualification and Acceptance Review. Representatives from ESA, Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (CDTI), and Airbus explained the mission, the satellite, and the Spanish participation in the Cheops program at the media event today at Airbus’ Madrid-Barajas site.

ESA Director of Science Günther Hasinger outlined the importance of this satellite. “We are thrilled to be launching CHEOPS later this year,” he said. “With its ultra-high precision observations of stars that we already know to host exoplanets, the mission will enable a first-step characterisation of the composition and nature of planets beyond our Solar System. CHEOPS is ESA’s first satellite dedicated to exoplanets, paving the way to two more missions in the coming decade and consolidating European leadership in exoplanet science.”

Cheops is the first of ESA’s small missions, designed to be ready to fly within five years, and using proven technologies, to pave the way for bigger and more ambitious missions. It will perform an scientific mission focused on defining the properties of planets orbiting nearby stars. The instrument that will study these exoplanets is a Ritchey-Chrétien telescope supplied by the University of Bern, in Switzerland, which is integrated on Airbus’ t AstroBus-S platform.