June 11, 2024

First PLATO camera installed on the optical bench

The company OHB in Oberpfaffenhofen is starting to integrate the PLATO cameras on the optical bench. The first of 26 cameras has now been mounted on the optical bench in the clean room of the OHB in Oberfpaffenhofen. The integration of the whole set will be ready by the end of the year.

First PLATO camera integrated on the optical bench
Optical bench on which the PLATO cameras will be mounted in rows of four on the white "cushions". The first integratde cameras can be seen in the top row. The integration is carried out in a clean room by OHB in Oberpfaffenhofen.

OHB System AG


PLATO will use 24 ‘normal’ cameras and 2 ‘fast’ cameras to look at more than 100 000 stars and search for planets around them. The mission uses the transit method to characterise these planets; when planets pass by the face of their host stars, they dim the starlight we receive. By studying this dimming effect, we can learn about a planet’s size, mass and density.

During the four-year mission, the cameras will use a special pointing technique to look at the same stars for a long period. Together, the 26 cameras can image about 5% of the sky at once.

PLATO's scientific payload, consisting of the cameras and electronic units, is provided through a collaboration between ESA and the Plato Mission Consortium. This Consortium is composed of various European research centres, institutes and industries. The head of the consortium is DLR institute's director Heike Rauer.