ESA Pays $47M to e2v to Supply 114 CCDs for Plato Mission

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded Teledyne e2v with the second phase of a €42M ($47M) contract to produce visible light CCDs for the PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) mission. PLATO is a planet hunting spacecraft that will seek out and research Earth like exoplanets around Sun like stars.

Teledyne e2v completed the first manufacturing phase of the contract, including the production of CCD wafers and the procurement and production of other key items. After a successful review of the first phase, Teledyne e2v has been authorised to start work on phase two of this prestigious contract. This includes manufacturing the wafers and the assembly, test and delivery of 114 CCDs. Together, they will form the biggest optical array ever to be launched into space (currently planned for 2026).

PLATO will be made up of 26 telescopes mounted on a single satellite platform. Each telescope will contain four 20MP Teledyne e2v CCDs in both full-frame and frame-transfer variants, for a full satellite total of 2.12 Gpixels. This is over twice the equivalent number for GAIA, the largest camera currently in space. As with GAIA, all of the PLATO CCD image sensors will be designed and produced in Chelmsford, UK.

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