May 15, 2018 – The European Space Agency (ESA) has chosen OHB System AG as prime contractor for a new program called PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars), with Thales Alenia Space as a partner. Negotiations between ESA and OHB should be completed by mid-June 2018, with the satellite to be launched in 2026 for an initial mission length of 4.5 years. PLATO will be the third medium-class (M3) science mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision Program, following Solar Orbiter (M1) and Euclid (M2), and preceding Ariel (M4). The aim of PLATO is to find and study extrasolar planetary systems, especially terrestrial type planets in the habitable zone (compatible with water in the liquid state) around stars similar to our Sun. Thales Alenia Space (France and UK) will be in charge of avionics and integration for the service module (SVM). The AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control System) software proposed for PLATO draws on the expertise and processes developed over the last 20 years and more. Thales Alenia Space offers full expertise in satellite avionics development and testing, from initial equipment specifications to test benches and AIT (assembly, integration, testing). The avionics test bench will be integrated and operated at Thales Alenia Space’s Cannes facility, with teams from Thales Alenia Space in UK also heavily involved.