16 May 2017 Design of an optical sun sensor for a space application: a reliable passive sun tracking device for the SOLAR/SOLSPEC instrument
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Abstract
SOLAR/SOLSPEC, a spectroradiometer measuring solar spectral irradiance is an instruments of the SOLAR payload mounted on the zenith external platform of the European Columbus module of the International Space Station. Solar flux is received by the SOLAR instruments thanks to the Coarse Pointing Device (CPD). A complementary Sun position tracking module, the Position Sensitive Device (PSD), is integrated in SOLAR/SOLSPEC. The PSD module has been a useful tool to monitor for misalignments between the CPD and the SOLAR payload. It is used in SOLAR/SOLSPEC’s operations to follow the quality of the Sun tracking. The PSD module is also valuable to monitor for SOLAR/SOLSPEC’s three spectrometers (ultraviolet, visible, infrared) angular response in orbit. We first give a detailed description of the PSD’s functionalities. We then present the results of the PSD data analysis. We will show that the PSD module has, despite working in a severe space environment, preserved its full potential from 2008 up to 2017 thanks to its design and appropriate selection of components. We conclude that its robustness makes of the PSD module a simple, yet reliable, instrument useful for future long term space-based missions.
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N. Pereira, D. Bolsée, D. Sluse, A. Michel, M. Meftah, L. Damé, A. Irbah, "Design of an optical sun sensor for a space application: a reliable passive sun tracking device for the SOLAR/SOLSPEC instrument", Proc. SPIE 10231, Optical Sensors 2017, 102311V (16 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2265709; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2265709
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