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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

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Meet Cheops, the Characterising Exoplanet Satellite

Find out how Cheops, the Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, is going to investigate distant planets orbiting stars other than the Sun to discover what these alien worlds are made of.

As part of its inspiring mission, Cheops will measure accurately the dimensions of small exoplanets – in the Earth- to Neptune-size range – of which we already know the mass in order to determine their densities. It will also observe hot Jupiter planets orbiting close to their parent stars to learn more about their atmosphere, and identify interesting targets for in-depth observations by future missions.

Cheops is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland, with a dedicated consortium led by the University of Bern, and with important contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Launch is scheduled for 17 December from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Credit: Cheops Consortium

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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

A powerful space telescope, due for launch from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana on 17 December 2019, will give scientists a new insight into the nature of planets outside our solar system. Cheops [Pron: K-ops] – Characterising ExOPlanet Satellite – will study known exoplanets that are orbiting bright stars. More than 4000 exoplanets have been discovered and Cheops will be targeting planets between the size of Earth and Neptune, to find out more about their composition, internal structure and whether they might be able to support life. The Cheops mission is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland with additional contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. This video examines the nature of exoplanets, the challenge of exoplanet exploration and features the Cheops Science Operations Centre in Geneva.
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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

ESA’s first mission dedicated to investigating planets outside our solar system is scheduled for launch on a Soyuz rocket from the European spaceport in French Guiana on 17 December 2019. Cheops – Characterising ExOPlanet Satellite – will study known exoplanets that are orbiting bright stars. The aim is to obtain detailed information about these planets to find out more about their composition and internal structure. The mission is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland with additional contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

Teams of scientists and engineers are simulating the launch, early orbit phase and commissioning of the CHEOPS mission ahead of its launch slot of 15 October to 14 November. The simulations are taking place at the CHEOPS Mission Operations Centre at Torrejón de Ardoz, just outside Madrid in Spain. CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) is a powerful telescope that will obtain measurements from stars outside our Solar System that have known planets. This information will tell us more about the nature of these exoplanets and whether they have the right conditions for life.
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CHEOPS - Characterising Exoplanets

The Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, Cheops, has successfully completed its final testing phase at Airbus Defence and Space Spain, Madrid. The satellite has also passed a very important review that determined it is ready to fly. Cheops will be stored in Madrid for a few months before being shipped to the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana; launch is scheduled in the time slot between 15 October and 14 November 2019.

Cheops is our first mission to focus on exoplanets, or planets beyond our Solar System, orbiting stars other than the Sun. It will make observations of stars the are known to host exoplanets to measure small changes in their brightness due to the transit of the planet across the star's disc. Cheops will target in particular stars hosting planets in the Earth-to-Neptune size range. The information will enable precise measurements of the sizes of the orbiting planets to be made: combined with measurements of the planet masses, this will provide an estimate of their mean density – a first step to characterising planets outside our Solar System.

Cheops paves the way for the next generation of our exoplanet satellites, with two further missions – Plato and Ariel – planned for the next decade to tackle different aspects of the evolving field of exoplanet science.

The mission is a partnership between us and Switzerland with additional contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. This film contains contributions from Nicola Rando, Cheops Project Manager, ESA; and Kate Isaak, Cheops Project Scientist, ESA.

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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

This time-lapse video shows the preparations for the launch of ESA’s Cheops, the Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The video spans about three weeks, starting on 28 November 2019 and ending on 18 December with the liftoff. Over this period, the fully integrated and fueled spacecraft was fitted inside the flight adapter of the Soyuz-Fregat rocket, encapsulated within the half-shells of the transport module, transferred to the final integration building, and installed on top of the Fregat upper stage of the Soyuz launcher. The upper composite, enveloped by the rocket fairing and comprises the Fregat and all passengers – the ASI Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation satellite, Cheops, and three CubeSats: ESA’s OPS-SAT and CNES's EYE-SAT and ANGELS satellites – was eventually transferred to the launch pad area and hoisted on top of the three-stage rocket ahead of liftoff. Cheops is ESA’s first mission dedicated to the study of extrasolar planets, or exoplanets. It will observe bright stars that are already known to host planets, measuring minuscule brightness changes due to the planet’s transit across the star’s disc.

Conoce a Cheops

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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

Scientists at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland will be processing data from CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) - a powerful telescope that will soon be studying stars outside our Solar System already known to host planets. The Observatory has a rich history studying exoplanets. In 1995, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz discovered the first exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. The CHEOPS mission is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland with important contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The CHEOPS launch slot is scheduled for the last quarter of 2019.

CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

CHEOPS - CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite - is the first mission dedicated to searching for exoplanetary transits by performing ultra-high precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets. The mission's main science goals are to measure the bulk density of super-Earths and Neptunes orbiting bright stars and provide suitable targets for future in-depth characterisation studies of exoplanets in these mass and size ranges.

Cheops: Planning a perfect mission

Teams of scientists and engineers are simulating the launch, early orbit phase and commissioning of the CHEOPS mission ahead of its launch period in the last quarter of 2019. The simulations are taking place at the CHEOPS Mission Operations Centre at Torrejón de Ardoz, just outside Madrid in Spain.

CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) is a powerful telescope that will obtain measurements from stars outside our Solar System that have known planets. This information will tell us more about the nature of these exoplanets and whether they have the right conditions for life. The mission is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland with additional contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. This film contains contributions from Diana de Miguel, Airbus Defence & Space; and David Modrego, ISDEFE.

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We are Europe's gateway to space. Our mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. Check out to get up to speed on everything space related.

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#ESA
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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

What is ESA’s Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, Cheops, and how will it improve our knowledge of exoplanets?

CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

Animation visualising ESA's CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite, Cheops, in orbit above Earth. In this view the satellite's telescope points to several different stars, one after the other. The beam represents the light from the star that Cheops is observing at a given point in time. Cheops will orbit Earth at an altitude of 700 km in a Sun-synchronous orbit, riding on the day-night terminator – such a configuration is also called dawn/dusk orbit. This orbit allows Cheops to point its instrument always towards the night side of Earth, in order to limit the impact on the measurements of sunlight and reflected stray light from Earth. To maximize the fraction of the sky where Cheops can perform observations, the instrument can be pointed at any time anywhere in the sky up to 60 degrees from the anti-Sun direction. Cheops will make observations of exoplanet-hosting stars to measure small changes in their brightness due to the transit of a planet across the star's disc. The information will enable accurate and precise measurements of the sizes of the orbiting planets to be made. Cheops will target stars hosting planets in the super-Earth to Neptune size range. By combining sizes with existing measurements of the planet masses, Cheops will provide an estimate of bulk density – a first step towards characterising planets outside our Solar System.

Cheops treffen

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Cheops: science in action

Scientists at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland will be processing data from Cheops, ESA's Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, scheduled to launch soon to study planets orbiting stars outside our Solar System.

The Observatory has a rich history studying exoplanets. In 1995, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz discovered the first exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. Now, over 4000 planets are known around stars other than the Sun.

By observing stars that are already known to host exoplanets, Cheops will make measure very precisely the sizes of planets in the super-Earth to Neptune size range. Combined with existing measurements of planet masses, the Cheops data will make it possible to determine the density of these planets, giving us vital clues about its composition and structure, indicating for example if it is predominantly rocky or gassy, or perhaps harbours significant oceans.

The Cheops mission is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland with important contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The Cheops launch slot is scheduled for the last quarter of 2019. This film contains contributions from Didier Queloz, Chair of the Cheops Science Team (University of Geneva); Willy Benz, the Cheops Principal Investigator (University of Bern); and the Cheops Ground Segment Manager, Matthias Beck (University of Geneva).

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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

The CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) spacecraft has successfully passed its final testing phase in Spain before it will be shipped to the European spaceport in French Guiana for launch later this year. CHEOPS is a powerful telescope that will fix its gaze on exoplanets, known planets outside our Solar System, that are orbiting bright stars. The aim will be to obtain detailed information about these planets and discover which ones might have the right conditions for life.
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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

Integration of ESA’s Cheops science instrument (top) with the spacecraft platform (bottom) in the cleanroom at Airbus Defence and Space in Madrid, Spain. The science instrument, which includes among other elements the telescope and detector, was built and tested at the University of Bern, Switzerland. It was shipped to Spain in April to be integrated with the spacecraft platform for further tests and launch preparations. Once in orbit, Cheops will observe transits of known exoplanets around bright stars to characterise these planetary systems.

What is Cheops?

What is ESA’s Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, Cheops, and how will it improve our knowledge of exoplanets? Find out more in this interview with Kate Isaak, ESA Cheops project scientist.

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We are Europe's gateway to space. Our mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. Check out to get up to speed on everything space related.

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Cheops: the hunt for exoplanets

A powerful space telescope, due for launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 17 December 2019, will give scientists a new insight into the nature of planets outside our Solar System.

Cheops, the 'Characterising Exoplanet Satellite', will study known exoplanets that are orbiting bright stars.

More than 4000 exoplanets have been discovered and Cheops will be targeting known planets between the size of Earth and Neptune, to find out more about their composition, internal structure and whether they might be able to support life.

Cheops' mission is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland with additional contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

This film examines the nature of exoplanets, the challenge of exoplanet exploration and features the Cheops Science Operations Centre in Geneva, it includes interviews with Didier Queloz, Chair of the Cheops Science Team and 2019 Nobel Physics Laureate, University of Geneva; Willy Benz, Cheops Principal Investigator, University of Bern; and Matthias Beck, Cheops Ground Segment Manager, University of Geneva).

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We are Europe's gateway to space. Our mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. Check out to get up to speed on everything space related.

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#ESA
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#ExoPlanets

Rencontrer Cheops

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CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite

CHEOPS - CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite - will be the first mission dedicated to searching for exoplanetary transits by performing ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets. The CHEOPS satellite is mounted on a longitudinal shaker that forces it to vibrate at different frequencies. At the beginning of the test, performed at RUAG Space in Zurich, Switzerland, low-frequency sine-wave vibrations of 5 Hz are applied. As the test progresses, a sweep, using sine waves of increasing frequency, is performed up to the maximum of 100 Hz.

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