The new ESA video Cheops: Europe's exoplanet mission shows an animation of the space telescope communicating with a ground station somewhere in central Spain. The Deep Space Network indeed has a Madrid site.

Will CHEOPS use DSN or ESA ground stations, or both?

screen shot from Cheops: Europe's exoplanet mission


According to CHEOPS Launch and Operations, the plan is to use the ground stations at Torrejón de Ardoz (east of Madrid) and Villafranca (at the European Space Astronomy Centre, ESAC, west of Madrid).

The sequence of ground passes includes 5 to 6 daily passes over the G/S of Torrejon (or Villafranca, since the MOC plans to use both of them depending on their availability). Each pass has a duration of 7 to 10 minutes, with 2 to 3 of these passes taking place in the early morning (around 7 a.m. local time) and 2 to 3 passes in the early evening (around 8 p.m. local time). All passes will be used to downlink the spacecraft telemetry at a fixed downlink rate of 1143 Kbps, which is compliant with the daily science and instrument housekeeping data generation of 1.2 Gb.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've adjusted the wording of my question to be more neutral, since it looks like it will be exclusively ESA ground stations. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 19 '19 at 0:57

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