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e2v Finds Its Place In Space
By Hank Russell
Space has been referred to as “the final frontier.” Satellites have been sending images back to scientists in search of other planets and the possibility of habitation there. For NASA’s Kepler mission and the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, e2v technologies, a Chelmsford, UK-based manufacturer of RF, microwave, imaging and gas sensor components and subsystems, has been supplying these respective agencies its imaging sensors for these missions.
The CCDs that are on these telescopes are supplied by e2v technologies and are geared towards star tracking applications. Features include frame transfer, 100% open area (no anti- blooming structures), fast transfer speeds and oftentime back illumination for high sensitivity.
“The CCDs are operated by a camera or controller,” explained e2v technologies’ Joanne Bugg. “The stream of analog pixel data from the outputs is pre-amplified with high integrity; sometimes additional analog signal processing is applied. The data is digitized and passed to a computer for further manipulation or filing, transmission and reconstruction.”
Catching The Stars
NASA’s new Kepler mission is due to initiate its search for extra-solar habitable planets in 2006. The mission’s space telescope, managed by a team form the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, will be used to capture scientific data and detect Earth-like planets outside the solar system.
e2v supplied thirty CCD90s to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (Fairborn, OH), which developed the hardware four the four-year mission. The CCD90 features a 2200x1060 x 27µm pixels. “We supplied a large area CCD similar in size to our CCD42-80 but with the size pixels,” Bugg said. “More interestingly, it has a charge injection structure for dynamic compensation for CTE losses due to inevitable proton damage on orbit, which will allow the centroiding accuracy to be maintained throughout life.”