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April 16, 2020 Thursday 09:00:02 PM IST

CHEOPS space telescope ready for scientific operation

International Edu News

CHEOPS is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Switzerland, under the leadership of the University of Bern in collaboration with the University of Geneva (UNIGE). After almost three months of extensive testing, with part of it in the midst of the lockdown to contain the coronavirus, on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, ESA declared the CHEOPS space telescope ready for science. With this achievement, ESA has handed over the responsibility to operate CHEOPS to the mission consortium, which consists of scientists and engineers from approximately 30 institutions in 11 European countries.

The successful completion of the test phase took place in very challenging times, with essentially all the mission team being required to work from home towards the end of the phase. "The completion of the test phase was only possible with the full commitment of all the participants, and because the mission has an operational control system that is largely automated, allowing commands to be sent and data to be received from home," explains Willy Benz, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Bern and Principal Investigator of the CHEOPS mission.

A team of scientists, engineers and technicians put CHEOPS through a period of extensive testing and calibration from the beginning of January until the end of March. "We were thrilled when we realized that all the systems worked as expected or even better than expected," explains CHEOPS Instrument Scientist Andrea Fortier from the Univerisity of Bern, who led the commissioning team of the consortium.



(Content Courtesy: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-04/uob-cst041620.php)


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