Astronomy & Telescopes

CHEOPS in-flight Performance: A Comprehensive Look At The First 3.5 Years Of Operations

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
June 5, 2024
Filed under , , , ,
CHEOPS in-flight Performance: A Comprehensive Look At The First 3.5 Years Of Operations
Evolution of the distribution of the dark current in hot pixels. The colours indicate the time when the dark M&C were taken. — astro-ph.IM

CHEOPS is a space telescope specifically designed to monitor transiting exoplanets orbiting bright stars. In September 2023, CHEOPS completed its nominal mission and remains in excellent operational conditions. The mission has been extended until the end of 2026.

Scientific and instrumental data have been collected throughout in-orbit commissioning and nominal operations, enabling a comprehensive analysis of the mission’s performance.

In this article, we present the results of this analysis with a twofold goal. First, we aim to inform the scientific community about the present status of the mission and what can be expected as the instrument ages.

Secondly, we intend for this publication to serve as a legacy document for future missions, providing insights and lessons learned from the successful operation of CHEOPS. To evaluate the instrument performance in flight, we developed a comprehensive monitoring and characterisation programme. It consists of dedicated observations that allow us to characterise the instrument’s response.

In addition to the standard collection of nominal science and housekeeping data, these observations provide input for detecting, modelling, and correcting instrument systematics, discovering and addressing anomalies, and comparing the instrument’s actual performance with expectations.

The precision of the CHEOPS measurements has enabled the mission objectives to be met and exceeded. Careful modelling of the instrumental systematics allows the data quality to be significantly improved during the light curve analysis phase, resulting in more precise scientific measurements. CHEOPS is compliant with the driving scientific requirements of the mission. Although visible, the ageing of the instrument has not affected the mission’s performance.

A. Fortier, A.E. Simon, C. Broeg, G. Olofsson, A. Deline, T.G. Wilson, P.F.L. Maxted, A. Brandeker, A. Collier Cameron, M. Beck, A. Bekkelien, N. Billot, A. Bonfanti, G. Bruno, J. Cabrera, L. Delrez, B.-O. Demory, D. Futyan, H.-G. Florén, M.N. Günther, A. Heitzmann, S. Hoyer, K.G. Isaak, S.G. Sousa, M. Stalport, A. Turin, P. Verhoeve, B. Akinsanmi, Y. Alibert, R. Alonso, D. Bánhidi, T. Bárczy, D. Barrado, S.C. Barros, W. Baumjohann, T. Baycroft, T. Beck, W. Benz, B.I. Bíró, A. Bódi, X. Bonfils, L. Borsato, S. Charnoz, B. Cseh, Sz. Csizmadia, I. Csányi, P.E. Cubillos, M.B. Davies, Y.T. Davis, M. Deleuil, O.D.S. Demangeon, A. Derekas, G. Dransfield, E. Ducrot, D. Ehrenreich, A. Erikson, C. Fariña, L. Fossati, M. Fridlund, D. Gandolfi, Z. Garai, L. Garcia, M. Gillon, Y. Gómez Maqueo Chew, M.A. Gómez-Muñoz, V. Granata, M. Güdel, P. Guterman, T. Hegedüs, Ch. Helling, E. Jehin, Cs. Kalup, D. Kilkenny, L. Kiss, L. Kriskovics, K.W.F. Lam, J. Laskar, A. Lecavelier des Etangs, M. Lendl, A. Lopez Pina, A. Luntzer, D. Magrin, N.J. Miller, D. Modrego Contreras, C. Mordasini, M. Munari, C.A. Murray, V. Nascimbeni, H. Ottacher, R. Ottensamer, I. Pagano, A. Pál, E. Pallé, A. Pasetti, P. Pedersen, G. Peter, R. Petrucci, G. Piotto, A. Pizarro-Rubio, D. Pollacco et al. (31 additional authors not shown)

Comments: Accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2406.01716 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2406.01716v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Andrea Fortier
[v1] Mon, 3 Jun 2024 18:23:06 UTC (14,042 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻