ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Everything you always wanted to demand from a digital Sunsensor but couldn't get
Johan Leijtens, Dick Broekmans, Frank Stelwagen
Presented at:
Sopot 2023
Full paper:

True digital Sunsensors have been under development for a number of decades but until now it has proven to be very difficult to produce a radiation hard device that is cost effective enough to find widespread use. Analogue fine Sunsensors would fit the bill for every mission if it weren't for the Earth albedo sensitivity and the analogue interface. Adding the processing electronics adds significant more cost and complexity that the costs associated with the sensor itself and avoiding significant albedo errors is only possible by very carefully placing the sensors in combination with restrictions on the satellite pointing. Having an albedo insensitive sensor with a digital interface available would therefore lead to significant cost savings and reduction of application constraints. Producing a cost effective radiation hardened true digital Sunsensor is only possible if a dedicated single chip solution is found. Currently Lens R&D B.V and Systematic Design B.V with assistance of ESA experts are working on the development of such a solution within an ESA ARTES program. In order to remain technically feasible but still cost effective, a number of compromises needed to be made which will be addressed during the presentation. Although the cost target is twice the price of an ESA qualified Analogue fine Sunsensor, cost savings in the processing electronics will lead to significant cost savings at system level if this target can be achieved.