|Cosmic Vision Themes||What are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life?|
|Primary goal||Characterise transiting exoplanets orbiting bright host stars|
|Targets||Known exoplanet host stars with a V-magnitude
|Wavelength||0.33 to 1.1 µm|
|Orbit||Sun-synchronous, 700 km altitude, local time of ascending node: 06:00|
|Lifetime||3.5 years science operations (5 years goal)|
|Type||Small (S-class) mission|
CHEOPS - CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite - will be the first mission dedicated to searching for exoplanetary transits by performing ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets.
|Artist's impression of CHEOPS.
Credit: ESA/ATG medialab
CHEOPS will provide the unique capability of determining radii within ~10% accuracy for a subset of those planets, in the super-Earth to Neptune mass range, for which the mass has already been estimated using ground-based spectroscopic surveys. CHEOPS will also provide accurate radii for new planets discovered by the next generation of ground-based or space transits surveys (from super-Earth to Neptune-size). By unveiling transiting exoplanets with high potential for in-depth characterisation, CHEOPS will provide suitable targets for future instruments suited to the spectroscopic characterisation of exoplanetary atmospheres.
By targeting stars located anywhere on the sky which are bright enough for precise radial velocity follow-up, CHEOPS will provide a uniquely large sample of small planets with well-measured radii, enabling robust bulk density estimates needed to test theories of planet formation and evolution.
On 19 October 2012, CHEOPS was selected for study as the first S-class mission in Cosmic Vision 2015-2025. The mission was formally adopted in early February 2014, and was successfully launched on 18 December 2019.
The CHEOPS mission relies completely on components with flight heritage, both at platform and at payload level thus minimising both cost and risk.
The CHEOPS mission is a partnership between Switzerland and ESA's Science Programme, with important contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.