Image: ESA's Cheops satellite

May 30, 2018, European Space Agency
Credit: Airbus Defence and Space

ESA's Cheops satellite – seen here at Airbus in Madrid – will measure the sizes of known exoplanets by detecting tiny fluctuations in the light of their parent stars. Due to be ready for launch at the end of this year, Cheops, or 'CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite' is only 1.5 m by 1.4 m by 1.5 m in size. It weighs in at about 300 kg fully fuelled – less than a large motorbike.

Small satellites as a term covers everything from this sub-tonne class of mission, down to CubeSats and picosats. Their ever-growing capabilities is under discussion at this week's 4S Small Satellite Systems and Services Symposium in Sorrento, Italy. Organised by ESA's Head of Optics, Luca Maresi, the symposium's speakers include Roger Walker, who leads ESA's Technology CubeSat efforts on sending beyond Earth orbit.

Explore further: Image: Cheops solar cells

Related Stories

Image: Cheops solar cells

January 30, 2017

ESA's CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite mission – Cheops – underwent important testing last year to be ready for launch by the end of 2018.

Image: Looking into the Cheops telescope tube

May 8, 2017

Seen here is a Cheops team member reflected in the satellite's main mirror, and framed by the black internal surface of the telescope tube. The back of the secondary mirror is seen at the centre of the image, held in place ...

Russia launches 73 satellites into orbit

July 14, 2017

An imaging satellite and 72 micro-satellites were launched into orbit Friday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Russian space agency Roscosmos and research centre Glavcosmos announced.

Recommended for you

Meteorite source in asteroid belt not a single debris field

February 17, 2019

A new study published online in Meteoritics and Planetary Science finds that our most common meteorites, those known as L chondrites, come from at least two different debris fields in the asteroid belt. The belt contains ...

Diagnosing 'art acne' in Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings

February 17, 2019

Even Georgia O'Keeffe noticed the pin-sized blisters bubbling on the surface of her paintings. For decades, conservationists and scholars assumed these tiny protrusions were grains of sand, kicked up from the New Mexico desert ...

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.