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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: http://sci.esa.int/plato/61280-delivery-of-first-detectors-for-platos-exoplanet-mission
The PLATO mission consortium has a new website - https://platomission.com/
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.
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.
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).
The 10th meeting of the DPA-WG is taking place on October 11th and 12th, at Observatoire de Paris. Attendance is by invitation only.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that attendance is by invitation only.
For more information, please see the meeting website.
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.
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 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.
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.
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: email@example.com.
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.
The University of Warwick (UK) will be hosting the PLATO Mission Conference 2017: exoplanets in the PLATO era. The conference will take place between the 5th and 7th of September 2017. Further details to come.
The University of Leuven is hosting the first ever PLATO Week between 18.07.16 and 20.07.16
Further information can be found at the webpage (click the news item heading)
The 5th PLATO Progress Meeting is taking place on April 25-27 2016, at the Munich South Holiday Inn. This meeting also acts as the kick-off to phase B2 of the project.
The PLATO Payload Team are having their 4th face-to-face meeting in Berlin, April 16th - 17th 2015.