CHEOPS, el nuevo satélite cazaplanetas, listo para lanzamiento

Cheops (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite), la próxima misión de la ESA para el estudio de exoplanetas, está lista para su lanzamiento.

Cheops en CASA – Airbus Defence and Space, Madrid

 

Para nosotros, Centro de Astrobiología (CAB, INTA-CSIC) y el Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA), tiene un significado muy especial:

+ Cheops fue elegido en un proceso competitivo por la Agencia Espacial Europea (ESA). El  CAB propuso otra misión del mismo tipo (Planet Vision) que llegó a la última ronda, pero Cheops salió vencedora.

+ El estudio que había hecho CASA (Airbus) para adaptar la plataforma del satélite de observación de la Tierra Ingenio era tan bueno que ESA les dio el contrato para la construcción del satélite, la integración dle telescopio y los ensayos. El procesos se realizó en las instalaciones de  San Fernando de Henares, en Madrid.

+ A través del Centro de Desarrollo Técnológico e Industrial (CDTI) se financió además el centro de control (MOC: Mission Operation Center), uno de los pocos de misiones ESA no gestionados por ESA, que ha sido desarrollado por la empresa española GMV.  El MOC de Cheops se encuentra junto al CAB-Torrejón (CEIT: Centro Espacial INTA Torrejón).

+ Una de las antenas del MOC es la VIL-1, situada en Villafranca, que se ha adaptado y se controla desde el CAB-Villafranca (localizado en el European Space Astronomy Center, ESAC, uno de los centros de referencia de la ESA, situado en Madrid).

+ Un investigador del CAB, David Barrado, es miembro del Core Science Team. Otros tres investigadores españoles forman parte del CST: Ignasi RIbas (ICE-IEEC,  CSIC), Enric Pallé (IAC) y Roi Alonso (IAC).

Así que esta misión tiene una gran contribución española y, en particular de INTA y del CAB,  y será una excelente introducción a lo que dentro de unos años hará PLATO, el gran cazador exoplanetario de la ESA, cuyo lanzamiento está previsto que se realize en el 2026.

Cheops es de los pocos casos en que tanto el satélite como el telescopio se han terminado varios meses antes de la fecha límite, en parte gracias al buen trabajo de nuestros colegas de Airbus CASA. Esperemos que se lance sin contratiempos el próximo otoño y sea un éxito de todos.

Miguel Mas Hesse
Director Centro de Astrobiologia (CSIC-INTA)
Unidad de Excelencia María de Maeztu

 

Más información sobre Cheops en este enlace.

 

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Excelente post, ya había oído este nuevo lanzamiento, y creo que le esta funcionando a la nasa, pues han descubierto nuevos exoplanetas.

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