CHEOPS is the acronym for Characterizing Exoplanets Satellite. It has the mission to gather data of the mass, density, composition and the formation of known extrasolar planets. It has 500 separate target pointings and is expected to fulfill its mission in about three and a half years.
It is the first mission completely entrusted to Airbus Spain from satellite development to the In-orbit Commissioning. After the launch, on last year’s December 18th, and the Launch and Early Orbit phase, CHEOPS was placed at about 700 km altitude, in the Sun-synchronous orbit. Airbus
Airbus Had Successfully Completed Its Part in the CHEOPS Mission
Spain’s last protocol in the process was the In-orbit Commissioning that started on January 7th and ended on March 25th, when the European Space Agency confirmed that the protocol was a total success.
In-orbit Commissioning’s purpose is to consolidate that will be used from now on in the operational phase of the satellite. The OP depends on the performance of the satellite’ platform and instruments, the ground segment and the science package. And Airbus has done it flawlessly. As it did in the entire process.
“The in-orbit delivery of the CHEOPS satellite is the culmination of the Airbus participation in the program. It is the first European exoplanetary mission and the first ESA mission built by Airbus in Spain. The professionalism of the technical and engineering teams at Airbus was key to this success,” proudly said Fernando Varela, Head of Space Systems in Spain.
Indeed, it seems that Airbus Spain has done tremendous work in record time, without delays, and with a very tight budget. It wasn’t an easy job to do. Having to coordinate 24 companies from 11 European countries, with only seven of them in Spain, and doing it so smoothly puts Airbus Spain on the map for future space missions.