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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Next Generation Fine Sun Sensor for Nanosatellites

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Project Image  Next Generation Fine Sun Sensor for Nanosatellites

A sun sensor capable of sub arcminute level performance in a low power, small package is needed in order to enable quality science on nanosatellites. Heliophysics experiments will greatly benefit from sub arcminute knowledge of the sun position. This IRAD aims to expand on previous work and develop a next generation sun sensor that is capable of sub arcminute performance while using less than 25mW power and fitting inside a 30x30x10mm box. This goal is to move from a benchtop unit to a flight like article and do environmental testing. 

This work innovates in the area of small sun sensors by using an extremely simple design (cruciform housing, quadrant photodiode and four op amp circuits) to detect the sun angle. This small electronics parts count allows for the possibility of extremely small packaging, very low power usage and higher reliability. The end product aim is to have a high accuracy sensor which has very low power consumption.

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

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