Cheops Space Telescope at the ESA Technical Center
The space telescope for searching exoplanets Cheops is planned to be launched from October 15 to November 14, 2019. Cheops will fly on a Soyuz rocket from the European site to Kourou with a satellite acting as part of the Italian constellation Cosmo-SkyMed. Two satellites are deployed in turn in their orbits. Cheops should be established in Earth orbit at an altitude of 700 km.
The satellite will be engaged in the observation of individual bright stars, around which there are exoplanets with sizes from Earth to Neptune. Focusing on the known planets, the telescope will know exactly when and where to look in order to catch the exoplanet at the moment of transit (the planet flies around a star and blocks its light). Accurate determination of dimensions and masses is used to calculate the volumetric density of the planets. This will limit their composition. As a result, scientists will receive the key to a full understanding of the formation and evolution of planets in a particular range of sizes.
Cheops is watching the sky in space
The satellite has recently been tested at the ESA Technical Center in the Netherlands and is now in Spain to complete the latest tests. Then it will be declared suitable for launch in 2019. In order to attract more attention to the mission, Cheops will have two tablets with thousands of miniature drawings made by schoolchildren. They also promise that the rocket fairing will have a bright design.