Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 15, EPSC2021-90, 2021
European Planetary Science Congress 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The PLATO mission: Overview and status

Heike Rauer1, Isabella Pagano2, Miguel Mas-Hesse3, Conny Aerts4, Magali Deleuil5, Laurent Gizon6, Marie-Jo Goupil7, Ana María Heras8, Giampaolo Piotto9, Don Pollacco10, Roberto Ragazzoni11, Gavin Ramsay12, and Stéphane Udry13
Heike Rauer et al.
  • 1DLR – Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany
  • 2INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, Italy
  • 3Centro de Astrobiología, CSIC/INTA, Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain
  • 4Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • 5Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, CNES, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, Marseille, France
  • 6Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Göttingen, Germany
  • 7LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Meudon Cedex, France
  • 8European Space Agency, ESTEC, The Netherlands
  • 9Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia "Galileo Galilei", Universita di Padova, Padova, Italy
  • 10Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  • 11INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Padova, Italy
  • 12Armagh Observatory and Planetarium College Hill, Armagh, UK
  • 13Observatoire astronomique de l'Université de Genève, Versoix, Switzerland

PLATO is an ESA mission dedicated to the study of exoplanets and stars, with a planned launch date in 2026. By performing photometric monitoring of about 250 000 bright stars (mV < 13), PLATO will be able to discover and characterise hundreds of exoplanets, including small planets orbiting up to the habitable zone of solar-like stars. PLATO’s precision will also allow for a precise characterisation of the host stars through asteroseismology. These objectives require both a wide field of view and high sensitivity, which are achieved with a payload comprising 24 cameras with partially overlapping fields of view. They are complemented by 2 more cameras optimised for brighter stars that will also be used as fine guidance sensor. The PLATO development phase started after the mission adoption in July 2017. The Mission Preliminary Design Review (PDR) was declared successful in October 2020. The implementation and delivery to ESA of the flight model CCDs for all cameras (4 CCDs per camera) has been completed. Currently the Structural Thermal Model (STM) of the payload optical bench is being manufactured, while the STM of a single camera has already been successfully tested. In parallel, a first engineering model of a complete, fully functional camera is being integrated, to verify its performance under operational conditions, and the qualification models of the different payload units are being built.

We will present the status of the PLATO payload implementation in the context of the satellite development. In particular, we will describe the payload manufacturing, integration, and tests that will be reviewed at the Critical Milestone in the second half of 2021. We will also summarise the progress made in the science preparation activities, as well as on the ground segment.

How to cite: Rauer, H., Pagano, I., Mas-Hesse, M., Aerts, C., Deleuil, M., Gizon, L., Goupil, M.-J., Heras, A. M., Piotto, G., Pollacco, D., Ragazzoni, R., Ramsay, G., and Udry, S.: The PLATO mission: Overview and status, European Planetary Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-90,, 2021.

Scientific presentation material