Final countdown of Europe’s Exoplanet Mission interrupted by technical Glitch

The launch of the CHEOPS exoplanet mission was called off due to a glitch in the automated sequence 1 hour 25 minutes prior to the launch. With the stability of the launcher and the payload assured, the launch agency has not yet revealed a new launch date.

CHEOPS: Europe’s Exoplanet Hunter, Image Credits: Space

Europe’s exoplanet mission, carrying the CHEOPS (Characterising Exoplanets Satellite) telescope, was set to fire its engines on December 17 from Europe’s launching site in Kourou, French Guinea. The launcher carried three extra payloads from the Space Agencies of Italy and France.

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Since exoplanets orbit around heavy stars, their features are too convoluted to be studied directly. Many indirect methods have been devised to study the nature of these planets. The CHEOPS telescope aims in studying the characteristics of exoplanets outside our solar system, by attributing to the planets’ diameters and orbits around stars. The telescope is also destined to provide information about planetaria rings and moons. Accounting to more than 4000 exoplanets that have been discovered, ESA states the mission to be a continuum to improve on the peripheral data of these planets.

The live telecast of the launch can be clocked from Arianespace.

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