Recent advances in large area charge-coupled device (CCD) imaging detectors and high-speed microprocessors have prompted the development of a new clss of electro-optical tracking instruments at the Jet Propulsion Labora-tory (JPL). These instruments are designed for standardized NASA-wide usage and are characterized by their extremely high pointing accuracy and stability and performance capabilities which are largely software defined and thus easily adapted to a variety of mission requirements. This paper presents an examination of the methods by which CCD detectors are being incorporated in star tracker instruments and the performance capabilities that can be expected from currently available devices. The multi-function sensor concept, in which a single sensor can function in a variety of guidance applications, is described. Software algorithms designed to provide efficient extraction of guidance information from both point and extended images are also presented. CCD star tracker implementations currently underway at JPL are described, and perfor-mance data obtained during laboratory testing are presented and discussed.