Spacecraft Design

The PLATO Payload will be accommodated on a 3-axis stabilised spacecraft securing a pointing stability of 0.2 arcsec (rms) over 14 hours. The spacecraft will make a 90° rotation around the line of sight every 3 months. The telemetry will be transmitted to Earth in the X-band (10 MHz maximum bandwidth) with an average downlink capacity of 109 Gb per day. The ground station will be in contact for 4 hours per day, 3.5 hours for data downlink with a rate of 8.7 Mbps.

The following European Space industries were involved in the study of the PLATO Spacecraft:

  • Thales Alenia Space – Torino, Italy (Phase A)
  • Airbus Defence & Space – Stevenage, UK (Phase A, Phase B1)
  • OHB System AG, Bremen, Germany (Phase A, Phase B1)

On 26 April 2018 OHB System AG has been selected by ESA as industrial prime contractor to negotiate the implementation of the satellite.