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N° 9–2018: Call for media: Meet Europe’s exoplanet satellite Cheops

13 May 2018

Media are invited to join experts of the Characterising Exoplanets Satellite, Cheops, at Airbus Defence and Space in Madrid, Spain, for a unique opportunity to visit the spacecraft in the clean room on 22 May.

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 disc. The information will help to reveal the size of planets circling other stars, especially those in the Earth-to-Neptune mass range – a first step to characterising planets outside our Solar System.

The science instrument that will make these measurements recently arrived at Airbus in Madrid, following testing at the University of Bern in Switzerland, for integration with the spacecraft platform. This includes being combined with the solar panels, thrusters, radio transmitters and reaction wheels needed for power, propulsion, communications and attitude control, respectively.

The completed satellite is currently undergoing essential tests and checks at Airbus as part of launch preparations. It will only be there for a few weeks before moving on for final thermal, vibration and acoustic testing in various locations across Europe. Final checks will be conducted when it returns in October, and then it will be packed and prepared for shipment to Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Cheops, which is implemented as a partnership between ESA and Switzerland, is on track to be ready for launch by the end of the year.

This event offers one of the first – and last – opportunities for media to view the complete satellite before its launch.


(All times CEST)

10:30 Arrival to Antares Room at Airbus

11:00 Welcome by José Guillamón, Head of Site and Airbus Space Systems in Spain

11:05 Nicola Rando, Cheops project manager

Introduction to Cheops and status update

11:15 Andrés Borges, Cheops Programme Manager at Airbus

Insights from industry and future steps towards launch and in-orbit commissioning 

11:25 Ignasi Ribas, Institut de Ciències de l’Espai & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Barcelona

Cheops science and contribution to exoplanet studies

11:35Eva María Vega Carrasco, Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial, Madrid

Mission operations

11:45 Q&A

12:00 onwards

Photo and video opportunity in the clean room to view Cheops. 



Media can register by writing to and will be asked to complete a registration form. Photo and video cameras are also to be registered.



Airbus (Antares Room)
Avenida de Aragón 404
28022 Madrid


More about Cheops:


About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member.

ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. ESA also has a strong applications programme developing services in Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99


Francisco Lechón

Tel: +34 630 196 993



Beatriz Arias

ESAC communication Office/Media Relations

Tel: +34 918131359




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