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News & Events from PLATO 2.0

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Research Engineer: the study and specification of the on-ground processing algorithms of PLATO

The LESIA ( is strongly committed to PLATO, both in terms of embedded software, the specification of on-board and on-ground processing algorithms, and the scientific preparation of the mission. As part of the mission development phase, one of the tasks to be carried out concerns the study and specification of all on-ground algorithms. These specifications are indeed essential to begin with the development of the on-ground data processing chains. This work is conducted under the responsibility of the LESIA (respectively R. Samadi) in the framework of WP 32 (a component of the Plato Data Center, PDC). It involves many collaborators in close contact with the team responsible for the development of the on-ground software at the Max Planck Institute in Gottingen (Germany).

At this stage of the project, the main components of the on-ground data processing chains are identified. However, the corresponding algorithms have to be studied in detail and complete evaluations of the expected performances have to be made. Finally, it will be necessary to translate the algorithms, currently in the form of detailed specifications, into a set of documents on the basis of which the PLATO Data Center (PDC) team will then develop the codes and perform the validation and integration tests.

Wed 15 May 2019, 13:53 | Tags: PDC, Job Opportunity, DPA-WG, data processing, algorithms, PLATO

Delivery of first detectors for PLATO

The first batch of charge-coupled devices (CCDs) to be flown on ESA’s PLATO space observatory was accepted by ESA last month. This is an important milestone on the road to creating a groundbreaking spacecraft that will detect Earth-sized exoplanets in orbit around distant stars.

The CCDs will be a key element of the largest digital combined camera ever flown in space. This camera will receive light from 26 telescopes, all mounted on a single satellite platform. The first 20 CCDs for PLATO were accepted for delivery by ESA in mid-March, and the remaining 84 detectors will be delivered in further batches before the end of 2020.

“The delivery of the first detectors at this time is important because it secures the early availability of one of the key elements of the whole mission,” said Bengt Johlander, the PLATO Payload Manager for ESA.

For more details, see ESA's press release:

Wed 24 Apr 2019, 10:07 | Tags: Payload, ESA, news, CCD, PLATO, spacecraft, Newsletter, instrument, PMC

Successful conclusion of Payload PDR

On March 27th a successful close-out meeting for the Payload Preliminary Design Review (P/L-PDR) was held at ESTEC, with ESA certifying that PLATO has achieved all the criteria necessary to pass the review.

The PMC leadership would like to thank the whole team for the enormous effort they made. It was only possible to reach this important milestone thanks to the consistently high motivation and desire to succeed that is present at all levels of the consortium.

In 2021 we will have the Payload Critical Design Review (P/L-CDR) and with the Camera Series Production Readiness milestone to deal with. Before that, however, we must complete the ongoing Unit PDRs.

Mon 08 Apr 2019, 09:02 | Tags: Review, PSM, ESA, PSM Office, news, PLATO, spacecraft, Newsletter, PMC, PDR, Success

New PLATO mission consortium website

The PLATO mission consortium has a new website -

The new website provides an overview of the PLATO mission, information about the different groups involved, science goals and requirements, development work, mission timeline, etc.

For general information about PLATO, please use the new website. PSM-specific news and updates will continue to be made available through this website.

Prime contractor selection announced

OHB System AG, a subsidiary of Bremen-based space and technology group OHB SE has been selected as prime contractor for the science mission PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars (PLATO) by the European Space Agency (ESA).

During the development and the production of the PLATO satellite, OHB System will have access to the contribution of a core team consisting of Thales Alenia Space (France and UK) and RUAG Space (Switzerland)(source: OHB System AG).

The prime selection together with the upcoming Instrument Preliminary Design Review (IPDR) are important milestones towards the completion of the development phase and the start of the implementation phase next year.

Fri 04 May 2018, 09:54 | Tags: Payload, ESA, OHB, news, prime, PLATO, spacecraft, Newsletter, instrument


WP12 (STESCI) are holding their second workshop in Messina, Sicily, Italy, between 22nd and 25th May 2018.

The first part of the workshop will consist of presentations which will review the scientific issues and related tasks achieved since the previous workshop (held in Paris in May 2016). Decisions on chosen scientific options will then be made, and approved.

In the second part of the workshop, scientific presentations and discussions will take place about issues that still remain to be clarified and solved. Related actions, and scientific work to be done, will be decided.

Places are limited; for more information, please see the workshop's website.

PDC job advert - database software developer

The Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), Göttingen, Germany, invites applications for a Database Software Developer to work for the PLATO Data Centre (PDC). The position is available for an initial period starting as early as 1st January 2018 until 31st March 2019, with the possibility of a long-term extension that is contingent upon performance and project funding.

Please send your CV and application letter, in English, as one PDF file to knoche[at] with the subject line "PDC Database Software Developer. Review of applications will begin on 22/12/2017 and continue until the position is filled.

For information, please click the title of this news item.

Wed 06 Dec 2017, 12:17 | Tags: PDC, Göttingen, PLATO, database, software, developer, Germany

ATBD review ongoing

The PSM review of the onboard data processing algorithms continues.

Following the delivery of the final reports to the PDC Office and the Performance Team, the PSM Office have been working with those groups to address the action items arising from the reports. Several of these have now been closed, but there are some outstanding issues that urgently need attention. Of these, the most important is the question of scientific testing to show that the algorithms fulfil the mission's science requirements.

The PSM Office circulated an email update regarding this question, with information about how PSM members can contribute to this effort. Please get in touch via email if you have not received this.

Information, and a list of next steps, is available on the Reviews page of the Members-only area (click the title of this news item)

Fri 10 Nov 2017, 17:33 | Tags: Review, Update, PSM, PSM Office, Test cases, data processing, algorithms, news, ATBD

Website updates

Myriad updates have been made to the website over the last week. These include updates to the PSM members-only area; please click the title of this item for more details.

Fri 10 Nov 2017, 17:06 | Tags: Update, PSM, website, PSM Office, news, PLATO, PSM Members

PLATO Week 4 and PLATO Week 5 reports

Brief reports for PLATO Week 4 (Summer 2017) and PLATO Week 5 (Autumn 2017) are now available through the Meetings page. Both PLATO Weeks included a large number of sessions that were relevant to the PSM.

The presentations from these meetings are available from the PLATO Sharepoint (sign-in required). Those relevant to the PSM will be made available through the Meeting Documents page (PSM members only, sign-in required).

New WP120 Stellar Science website is live

WP120, the Core Stellar Science branch of the PSM has a new website. Please check it out at this link (

10th DPA-WG meeting

The 10th meeting of the DPA-WG is taking place on October 11th and 12th, at Observatoire de Paris. Attendance is by invitation only.

Mon 25 Sep 2017, 15:21 | Tags: Payload, Meeting, PDC, PSM, DPA-WG, PLATO

PLATO Week 5 - Porto

The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA), Universidade do Porto, Portugal will organise the fifth PLATO Week that is scheduled from 24/10/2017 to 26/10/2017. For questions concerning the local organisation please contact Please note that attendance is by invitation only.

For more information, please see the meeting website.

PLATO adopted by ESA

ESA's Science Programme Committee have agreed to adopt PLATO into the Science Programme moving forwards. Mission adoption is a big milestone for PLATO, and marks the move from a blueprint mission into a fully-realised concern.

This decision is just reward for all of the hard work put in by the PLATO team over the last several years.

Tue 20 Jun 2017, 16:39 | Tags: Payload, Exoplanets, PDC, Report, PSM, ESA, PIC, Complementary Science, news, PLATO, adoption

PLATO and Galactic archaeology

A research team led by PSM member Andrew Miglio (University of Birmingham) has published a white paper on the pre-print arXiv that describes how PLATO can contribute to the field of Galactic archaeology.

They identify key outstanding questions related to the formation and evolution of the Milky Way. Answering these questions requires precise, accurate ages for large samples of stars, such as those that will be provided by PLATO's asteroseismic data (through WP12, Stellar Science). They demonstrate that the capabilities of PLATO are such that answering their key questions is possible.

The paper can be found on ADS.

PLATO Week 4 - Stockholm

PLATO Week 4 will be hosted at the Albanova University Centre, Stockholm, Sweden. It will be taking place between the 20th and 22nd of June 2017. Attendance is by invitation only.

For more details, please see the meeting's website.

Thu 25 May 2017, 10:46 | Tags: PLATO 2.0, Payload, Stellar Science, Meeting, PLATO week, PDC, PSM, PIC, Stockholm

PLATO Week 3: Göttingen - Report

PLATO Week 3 took place at MPSSR in Göttingen between the 13th and 15th of March 2017. There were many sessions of relevance to the PSM:

  • An overview of PSM activities since the last meeting, presented by the PSM Coordinator, Don Pollacco.
  • A joint PSM-PDC plenary session, which included presentations on the L1 on-ground processing chain, Exoplanet Science and Stellar Science requirements on L1 data, and a working model for interactions between the two bodies.
  • A splinter session on candidate ranking and follow-up
  • A splinter session on PMC System Wide tools, with reference to PSM tools for content management, version control, action items, and requirement tracking moving forwards.
  • A splinter session on the PDC Database organisation
  • A splinter session on support tools for data analysis.

The presentations from these sessions, and from all of the other sessions at PLATO Week 3, can be found at the meeting's webpage, and through the detailed information for this news item.

PLATO Week 3: Göttingen

PLATO Week 3 will be hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany. It will be taking place between the 13th and 15th of March. Attendance is by invitation only.

UPDATE: Information regarding the meeting can be found at the meeting's website.

Tue 17 Jan 2017, 14:06 | Tags: The PLATO 2,0 project, PLATO 2.0, Payload, Meeting, PLATO week, PDC, PSM, Göttingen

PLATO Week 2: Rome - report

PLATO Week 2 took place at ASI in Rome between the 8th and 10th of November 2016. The PSM held several joint sessions with the PDC, during which discussions focussed on the high-level schedule for developing the on-ground data processing pipeline.

Minutes for the PSM-PDC sessions can be found on the Publications page, along with the slides that were shown during the meeting.

PLATO Week 2: Rome

The second PLATO Week will be held from the 8th to the 10th of November at the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) in Rome. Detailed information can be found on the meeting's webpage (click the news item title).

The Local Organizer is Isabella Pagano:

If you are intending to come to the meeting, please register using the link on the webpage at least 2 weeks before the meeting. Registration is mandatory.


Fri 30 Sep 2016, 15:42 | Tags: PLATO 2.0, Payload, Meeting, PLATO week, PDC, Rome, ASI, PSM

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