Fitting Cheops into the flight adapter

Fitting Cheops into the flight adapter

At Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, ESA’s Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, Cheops, is being fitted into the flight adapter of the Soyuz-Fregat rocket that will lift it into space on 17 December.

In this picture, taken on 28 November, Cheops is hoisted above the conic flight adapter while the Airbus team is making sure the satellite orientation is correct before placing it on the flight adapter ring.

Cheops is ESA’s first mission dedicated to the study of extrasolar planets, or exoplanets. It 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.

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Space, astronomy and science