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Soyuz Booster to Launch COSMO-Skymed, Cheops, ANGELS, Eyesat and OPS-SAT

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
December 15, 2019
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Replica of OPS-SAT (Credit: ESA–Stijn Laagland)

PARIS (CNES PR) — On Tuesday 17 December, Soyuz will lift off for the 23rd time from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, carrying COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation for the Italian space agency ASI and the Italian Ministry of Defence, CHEOPS for the European Space Agency (ESA), ANGELS and EyeSat for CNES, and OPS-SAT for operator Tyvak on behalf of ESA.

This will be Soyuz’s third launch from the CSG in 2019 and the ninth flight of the year in all from the base.

With a total launch mass of 2,205 kg, COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation is an Earth-observation satellite built by Thales Alenia Space in Italy. It is equipped with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capable of observing in any weather or light conditions, day and night.

The COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation system, including its ground segment, will set a new performance standard for space-based radar observation systems in terms of precision, image quality and flexibility of user services.

It is a dual-use civil/military system designed to address the requirements of commercial and government customers, as well as the scientific community. The satellite has an expected lifetime of seven years.

With a total launch mass of 273 kg, CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite), built by Airbus in Spain, is the first mission dedicated to studying bright, nearby stars in the neighbourhood of the solar system already known to host exoplanets. Its objective is to make high-precision observations of the size of planets as they cross in front of their host star.

The satellite will focus on planets in the super-Earth to Neptune size range, with its data enabling the bulk density of the planets to be determined—a first step towards characterizing these worlds outside our solar system. The satellite has an expected lifetime of three and a half years.

With a total launch mass of 27 kg, ANGELS (Argos Neo on a Generic Economical and Light Satellite) is a 12U CubeSat carrying a miniaturized Argos Neo instrument ten times smaller than the equivalent previous-generation device. The instrument collects and locates low-power signals and messages sent by the 20,000 Argos transmitters operating around the globe.

Two teams—CNES and Hemeria (a subsidiary of Nexeya) for ANGELS, and CNES, Thales Alenia Space and Syrlinks for Argos Neo—are working together on this space project flying the first nanosatellite built entirely by French industry. ANGELS paves the way for construction of operational nanosatellites for the NewSpace market. The satellite has an expected lifetime of two years.

With a total launch mass of 7 kg, EyeSat is a 3U cubesat equipped with a small space telescope called IRIS. EyeSat was funded and developed by CNES under its JANUS1 project, which engages students in universities and engineering schools and helps them to develop their own very small satellites.

The satellite is designed to study the zodiacal light and the Milky Way. The mission has a threefold objective of acquiring science data, demonstrating new satellite technologies and readying students for careers in space engineering. The satellite has an expected lifetime of at least one year.

With a total launch mass of 7 kg, OPS-SAT is a 3U cubesat and the world’s first free-for-use, in-orbit testbed for new satellite control software, applications and technologies. With OPS-SAT, Europe is ushering in a new era of spaceflight innovation and commercial opportunity.

In its first year of operation, OPS-SAT will host over 100 in-flight experiments from many ESA member states. It was developed by the Graz University of Technology, Austria, with subcontractors from Austria, Germany, Poland and Denmark.

It will be operated by ESA from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Germany. The satellite has an expected lifetime of at least one year. It will be the first satellite to be launched for operator Tyvak, on behalf of ESA.

Tyvak offers access to space through low-cost turnkey space systems designed to accelerate on-orbit access, especially for small satellites like cubesats. Tyvak International of Italy provided the deployer and launch service for OPS-SAT on behalf of ESA.

The Soyuz launch will be carried live at

One response to “Soyuz Booster to Launch COSMO-Skymed, Cheops, ANGELS, Eyesat and OPS-SAT”

  1. Saturn1300 says:

    CHEOPS waits until the planet crosses the star. The orbit of the planet is known. No need to waste telescope time. It does this many times and adds the light curves together. It can measure the diameter very closely. The CHEOPS website is very good. It even has a .pdf to print paper parts to make a model of the spacecraft. Cut out and glue together. 18p I think. A lot of work, but it would look neat.

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