e2v's CCD imaging sensors equip unmanned spacecraft
e2v's CCD imaging sensors have been launched into space on board the European Space Agency's (ESA) Jules Verne spacecraft, the first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to be sent to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch took place on 9 March 2008.
e2v's CCD47-20 image sensors were selected by Eads Sodern as part of two key systems delivered for the ATV; an SED16 star tracker, an optical device used for determining the orientation of the spacecraft by measuring its position relative to stars, and a Videometer, a system Eads Sodern developed, which is the primary rendezvous and docking sensor for the spacecraft.
The Jules Verne ATV was carried into orbit from the launch site in French Guiana and hauled almost 7 tonnes of cargo to the Station 400km above the Earth. The spacecraft is the most powerful automatic spaceship ever built, having been equipped with its own propulsion and high-precision navigation system, which automatically guided it into dock at the ISS. The ISS relies on frequent deliveries of equipment, spare parts, food, air, and water for its permanent crew. The unmanned ATV will remain attached to the station, providing reboost and altitude control for up to six months.
Brian McAllister, aerospace general manager at e2v, said: 'e2v has had a long relationship with Sodern and ESA. We are pleased to deliver imaging sensors for the navigation and docking which directly enabled the successful delivery of supplies to the International Space Station.'