Warsaw space engineers join ‘planet hunter’ mission to find ‘Earth Twins’

The PLATO mission will search for exoplanetary systems. ESA/C. Carreau

Polish space engineers are to take part in a mission to find “Earth twins”.

Set to launch in 2026, the European Space Agency’s PLATO mission aims to revolutionise our understanding of how planets formed and planetary systems evolved by trying to answer the questions of how common worlds like ours are and whether they are suitable for the development of life.

The PLATO mission, which stands for PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars, will involve characterising hundreds of planets, including rocky and icy ones – and planets similar to our own – with precise measurements of their radius, mass and age.

SENER Polska engineers will design and manufacture the Adjustable Lifting Device (ALD), which will be used to carry and help assemble the integration of the satellite.Fair use

This information is needed to determine how habitable they are and enable scientists to distinguish terrestrial planets from non-habitable gaseous mini-Neptunes.

Among the European companies involved is SENER Polska, which has been delivering systems for the space, defence and science sectors for over 50 years.

In the space sector, this includes electromechanical, navigational and communications systems.

The PLATO mission, which stands for PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars, will try to answer the questions of how common worlds like ours are and whether they are suitable for the development of life.platomission.com

Based in Warsaw, it is involved in ESA and NASA projects, including Euclid, Meteostat Third Generation, Galileo and ExoMars2020.

SENER Polska will design, manufacture and test devices supporting the assembly of parts of the PLATO mission probe. The ordering party is German-based company OHB System AG.

The Polish company started designing the Mechanical Ground Support Equipment for assembling the satellite at the end of September 2020.

If all goes to plan, the mission should be able to provide detailed information on hundreds of rocky and giant planets, providing more information about how solar systems form generally.U.K. Space Agency/ESA

At the moment, it is refining and preparing device designs for production. The design will then be reviewed so that a permit for launching production can be obtained.

Its engineers will design and manufacture the Adjustable Lifting Device (ALD), which will be used to carry and help assemble the integration of the satellite.