The Wide Field Imager (WFI) and Fine Field Imager (FFI) shall now be upgraded with equally sensitive cameras. However, they are exposed to stratospheric conditions in flight (typical conditions: T≈-40° C, p≈ 0:1 atm) and there are no off-the-shelf CCD cameras with the performance of an iXon3, suited for these conditions. Therefore, Andor Technology and the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI) are jointly developing and qualifying a camera for these conditions, based on the iXon3 888. These changes include replacement of electrical components with MIL-SPEC or industrial grade components and various system optimizations, a new data interface that allows the image data transmission over∼30m of cable from the camera to the controller, a new power converter in the camera to generate all necessary operating voltages of the camera locally and a new housing that fulfills airworthiness requirements. A prototype of this camera has been built and tested in an environmental test chamber at temperatures down to T=-62° C and pressure equivalent to 50 000 ft altitude. In this paper, we will report about the development of the camera and present results from the environmental testing.
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Manuel Wiedemann, Jürgen Wolf, Paul McGrotty, Chris Edwards, Alfred Krabbe, "A high-sensitivity EM-CCD camera for the open port telescope cavity of SOFIA," Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 99061U (8 August 2016);