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23 February, 2006 - 10:23 By Staff Reporter

e2v devices in Pluto mission

Imaging devices from sensing technology leader, e2v technologies, have rocketed into space with NASA’s world-first New Horizons mission to Pluto. Imaging devices from sensing technology leader, e2v technologies, have rocketed into space with NASA’s world-first New Horizons mission to Pluto.

The sensors, incorporated into the spacecraft’s Ralph and LORRI science instruments, will help to provide unprecedented image data on the planet.

New Horizons will collect key information on the surface, composition and atmosphere of Pluto and its orbital companion Charon.

e2v technologies supplied a total of 27 CCDs for the spacecraft’s Ralph instrument, five of which were flight devices.

These sensors will enable high-resolution mapping of Pluto and Charon’s surfaces.

The visible and infrared Ralph spectrometer will provide composition, colour and thermal maps for scientific analysis.

Further e2v sensors in the telescopic camera LORRI, the spacecraft’s long range reconnaissance imager, will help to provide extremely high resolution and highly detailed images of Pluto, its large moon Charon, and its two newly discovered smaller moons.

Such scientific studies will provide world-first information on the Kuiper Belt planets, which survive billions of miles away from the sun.

Graham Gooday, e2v business sector manager said: “We at e2v are very excited to be involved with the world’s first spacecraft to Pluto.

“To have our high performance image sensors in two of New Horizons’ key science instruments further heightens our anticipation of the mission’s future achievements.

“We are proud to assist in providing the world with unique scientific data on the solar system’s ninth planet.”

New Horizons is the pioneer space mission in the NASA New Frontiers programme.

The robotic space flight mission will span the solar system on its one-way journey, reaching Pluto for flyby investigations in 2015.

En route, a flyby at Jupiter early next year will enable a practice science run to be carried out, in preparation for the Pluto assignment.

Instrument observations will be transmitted back to earth during the spacecraft’s journey of the outer solar system.

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