ESA title
Science & Exploration

NEW LAUNCH DATE 18 Dec - Cheops & OPS-SAT Soyuz VS23 launch from Kourou

Date: Wed, Dec 18, 2019 | 08:20 - 13:55 GMT | 09:20 - 14:55 CET

Type: ESA TV Live

Format: 16:9

Following replacement of some faulty equipment that caused an anomaly in the automated launch sequence on 17 December, CHEOPS launch is now scheduled for 08:54:20 GMT on Wednesday 18 December on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Cheops, ‘Characterising Exoplanet Satellite’, is ESA’s first mission dedicated to the study of extrasolar planets, or exoplanets. It is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland.

The mission 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.

Cheops will target stars hosting planets in the Earth- to Neptune-size range, yielding precise measurements of the planet sizes. This, together with independent information about the planet masses, will allow scientists to determine their density, enabling a first-step characterisation of these extrasolar worlds. A planet’s density provides vital clues about its composition and structure, indicating for example if it is predominantly rocky or gassy, or perhaps harbours significant oceans.

Cheops will lift off as a secondary passenger, hitching a ride on the Soyuz-Fregat that will deliver the first satellite of the Italian space agency ASI’s Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation constellation into space. The launcher will also carry three ‘CubeSats’, small satellites based on standardised 10 cm cubic units, including ESA’s OPS-SAT – the world’s first free-for-use, in-orbit testbed for new software, applications and techniques in satellite control.

Transmission will be in 3 parts (times GMT):
0830-0920 - launch and separation of 1st payload group
1052-1122 - orbital increase and separation of CHEOPS
1253-1354 - orbital increase and separation of 3rd payload group followed by success statements

Highlights will be posted on the ESA TV FTP server as soon as possible after each part.

The whole transmission will also be relayed on ESA Web TV

More information at:

Satellite Parameters:

Eutelsat 7B @ 7deg East  Transponder: B6 Channel: 2H6+ (6MHz)
D/link Fr: 11003.50MHz Polarisation: Y/vertical
Signal: 1080/50 MPEG4 4:2:0 (H264) clear
SR: 4.9373 FEC: 3/4 Mod: DVBS2/8PSK
Pilot: On Roll-off: 0.2 DR: 10.7514
Audio 1: English lang comm feed mono
Audio 2: French lang comm feed mono
Audio 3: N/A
Audio 4: International audio mono

For any inquiries regarding satellite or ftp reception please contact the ESA TV production team:
Dominique Detain at  / tel + 33 685 114 681
Chris Courtenay Taylor at chrisct@worldwidegroup,global / tel + 44 7774 275 951