Juno spacecraft launched on mission to Jupiter

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Image sensors from Eastman Kodak Company have been integrated into the Juno spacecraft, recently launched on a mission to provide unique views of Jupiter. The Kodak KAI-2020 CCD image sensor was selected by Malin Space Science Systems to serve as the 'eye' of JunoCam, an instrument that will provide full colour images of Jupiter as the spacecraft orbits the planet.

The Juno spacecraft is designed to investigate Jupiter's origins, interior structure, deep atmosphere and magnetosphere from an innovative, highly elliptical orbit that will come as close as 5,000km to the planet’s cloud tops.

'JunoCam is the eleventh time we have selected a Kodak CCD for a spaceflight imaging system,' said Michael Ravine, advanced projects manager, Malin Space Science Systems. 'Being able to draw from the many options available in Kodak's commercial image sensor line has allowed us to tune the performance of each camera to each mission's specific needs. And our previous cameras that use Kodak sensors have logged more than 10 years of deep space operations, clearly demonstrating their reliability for space applications.'

The Juno spacecraft was launched on 5 August and will embark on a five-year cruise to Jupiter. Once the spacecraft arrives in 2016, JunoCam will be operated as part of the mission's public outreach programme, with imaging targets for the camera selected by the public working with the Juno science team.

The camera will capture images for at least seven orbits, and then continue operation as long as possible in Jupiter's intense radiation environment. With its 1,600 x 1,200 pixel array, the KAI-2020 image sensor will enable JunoCam to capture images of Jupiter's cloud tops at up to 3km per pixel, providing an unprecedented view of the planet.

Kodak CCDs will also be involved in two upcoming space missions currently scheduled to launch this November: the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, will help assess whether Mars was (or still is) an environment able to support microbial life, while the Russian spacecraft Phobos-Grunt will use the image sensors for navigation and landing site selection on its mission to land on the Mars moon Phobos, collect samples, and return them back to Earth.

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