Freitag, 3. November 2017 - 19:30 Uhr

Astronomie - ESA erste kleine Mission für 2017: CHEOPS



ESA’s first small type mission CHEOPS will monitor brightness of stars to help determine radii of exoplanets Company will lead design and construction of the satellite to be launched in December 2017


Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, has become the prime contractor for the CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) satellite, the first small type mission of ESA’s (European Space Agency) Scientific Programme. The main objective of the CHEOPS mission is to monitor planetary transits by means of ultrahigh precision photometry on known stars that have planets orbiting them.
The CHEOPS mission formed a very important part in the celebration of ESA’s 50th anniversary at the European Astronomy Centre of ESA, in Madrid, in the presence of the President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, and ESA’s Director General, Jean Jacques Dordain. Also present at the event were the Spanish Minister of Industry, José M. Soria, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, Álvaro Giménez, and the Spanish astronaut, Pedro Duque.
In monitoring the brightness of a star, scientists will look for signs of “transit” of a planet as it passes briefly in front of its star. The satellite will thus be able to determine the exact radius of the planet. For planets with known masses, this will allow their density to be ascertained, providing an indication of their internal structure, formation and evolution. A second goal is to provide golden targets for in-depth characterisation using future ground (eg. European Extremely Large Telescope) and space-based (eg. James Webb Space Telescope) spectroscopic facilities.
“The mission represents a challenge for both ESA and industry, as it requires a very demanding development programme in terms of design, quality and planning in order to achieve launch in 2017,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “I’m confident that our teams, building on their expertise in small Earth Observation missions such as Ingenio and Sentinel-5 Precursor will rise to this latest scientific challenge.”
CHEOPS is the first of the small-size (S class) missions of ESA, and was selected from 26 other proposed missions. These missions are designed to take full advantage of known technologies. They should be low cost and rapidly developed missions, in order to offer greater flexibility in response to new ideas from the scientific community. The spacecraft is based on the Airbus Defence and Space AstroBus family of low cost satellite platforms (following on from e.g. Spot 6 & 7, KazEOSat-1), and the ninth for an ESA programme following on from Sentinel 5 Precursor and the MetOp Second Generation satellites. Airbus Defence and Space’s leadership as a satellite prime contractor in Spain is confirmed with CHEOPS, following the successful Ingenio and Paz programs. The company will re-use their experience on the AstroBus family in order to deliver CHEOPS on time.
The satellite will fly at an altitude of between 650 and 800km, in a dusk-dawn heliosynchronous orbit at an inclination of about 98º, and will have a design lifetime of 3.5 years. The University of Bern is building the satellite’s on-board instrument CIS (CHEOPS Instrument System) which features a 33.5cm-diameter Ritchey-Chrétien telescope and a high performance backside illuminated CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) detector.
Quelle:Airbus Defence and Space
Update: 3.11.2017


Soyuz launch
2 November 2017

ESA is offering graphic designers and artists a unique opportunity to feature their work on the rocket carrying the Cheops satellite.

The design will be placed on the Soyuz rocket’s fairing, the tough outer shell that protects the satellite during launch and as it passes through the atmosphere into space.

At an altitude of about 100 km the fairing will be jettisoned and fall back to Earth, while Cheops will continue into orbit.

Cheops, a partnership between ESA and Switzerland, will observe bright stars known to host planets.

Scientists will use high-precision monitoring of a star’s brightness to examine the transit of a planet as it passes briefly across the bright face.

The information will help to reveal the structure of planets circling other stars, especially those in the Earth-to-Neptune mass range. The mission will also contribute to our understanding of how planets change orbits during their formation and evolution.

Cheops is currently on track to be ready for launch by the end of 2018.

This competition is an exciting opportunity for students of graphic art or design, or early career graphic artists and designers to make one of their designs a part of ESA history.


Design space

For the winner, the design will be visible during launch preparations and liftoff, as well as on photographs and video footage taken at the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

In addition, the winner will be invited to attend the main Cheops launch event in Europe as a guest of ESA and to watch as their design climbs skywards.

Cheops satellite

Designs selected as runners-up will be exhibited during the event, which will be broadcast through multiple media channels.

You can read more about Cheops on the dedicated ESA webpages and on the mission webpages from the University of Bern.

Read the full competition rules here.

The deadline for submissions is 17:00 GMT (18:00 CET) on 31 January.



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