European company Airbus has successfully concluded the in-orbit commissioning (IOC) of the CHEOPS satellite.

The spacecraft is part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) FAST TRACK missions programme.

The completion was confirmed by ESA following the IOC review. The 2.5-month IOC phase started on 7 January.

The company performed operations such as verifying the performance of the satellite (platform and instrument), the ground segment and the science package.

Airbus was supported by the Instrument Team (University of Bern), Mission Operation Centre (INTA), Science Operation Centre (University of Geneva) and ESA.

Airbus Space Systems Spain head Fernando Varela said: “The in-orbit delivery of the CHEOPS satellite is the culmination of the Airbus participation in the programme. It is the first European exoplanetary mission and the first ESA mission built by Airbus in Spain. The professionalism of the technical and engineering teams at Airbus was key to this success.”

Following the completion of IOC, ESA transferred the mission operations from Airbus to INTA and the mission consortium.

Meanwhile, Airbus is also ready to help the mission during the operational phase.

CHEOPS will observe known planets in the size range between Earth and Neptune.

The mission marks the first time Airbus Spain has been given the contract for the whole mission, starting from satellite development, through launch, to LEOP and IOC. 

To complete the mission, Airbus formed a team consisting of 24 companies from 11 European countries. 

ESA recently decided to scale-down operations at its mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, as Covid-19 continues to spread.