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Satnews Daily
July 4th, 2018

The Integration of the Cheops Satellite is Completed by Airbus

Airbus has completed the integration of Cheops (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite), the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first smallsat mission that will carry out a scientific mission,to define the properties of the planets orbiting nearby stars.

Photo of the Cheops satellite,
courtesy of Airbus.

Cheops will study these planets using a Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope supplied by the University of Bern, Switzerland. The telescope was integrated last month at Airbus’ Madrid-Barajas site on the already-finished platform. Following successful integration, the spacecraft will be sent to France, Switzerland and The Netherlands for a comprehensive test campaign on July 9.

Cheops telescope and baffle.

The campaign will 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 being shipped to Kourou, French Guiana, for launch.
The satellite, which is implemented as a partnership between ESA and Switzerland, is on track for launch by the end of the year on a Soyuz rocket from Kourou. The Cheops mission will analyze, for at least three and a half years, the transit of exoplanets as they pass in front of their stars and will operate from a Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) at an altitude of between 650 and 800 km.