Caeleste’s Faintstar2 sensor, a critical component on the Hera Asteroid mission.
ESA’s Hera asteroid mission for planetary defence is about to gain its sight with the help of Caeleste’s Faintstar2 sensor. Two complete and fully tested Asteroid Framing Cameras, equipped with the advanced sensor, have reached OHB in Germany for integration aboard Hera’s payload module. The AFC will play a pivotal role in the mission, acquiring detailed views of the surface of Dimorphos for scientific analysis, guidance, navigation and control.
The Faintstar2 detector chip, marketed by Caeleste, is an advanced, rad-hardened next generation image sensor for startrackers. It was initially designed through a project in ESA’s General Support Technology Programme. Possessing a 5.5 degree field of view, the monochromatic AFC acquires images using complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor active pixel sensor technology.
Jena-Optronik, the German company responsible for designing, manufacturing and testing the AFC, is proud to contribute to the success of the prestigious mission. The compact design of the AFC, with its long baffle to protect the camera’s optics from sunglare, shares heritage with the startracker units that Jena-Optronik specialises in – utilised to map the stars around a spacecraft in order to pinpoint its position in space.