European Earth observation satellite Proba-V uses photonics technology

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The European Space agency's Earth observation microsatellite Proba-V is using photonics technology with image sensors from UK firm e2v and Belgian company Xenics’ short wave infrared indium gallium arsenide detectors.

Proba-V has been designed to chart global vegetation every two days and provide a service to the community of more than 10,000 Earth observation users. Proba-V’s instrument uses the e2v AT71547 charged coupled device image sensor and three of Xenics’ Xlin-1.7-3000 SWIR InGaAs detectors.

The AT71547 is a sensor made up of four lines of 6,000 pixels each and has been used in a number of Earth observation missions. The Xlin-1.7-3000 SWIR InGaAs detector has over 3,000 pixels of resolution. The detector has been qualified for space missions with 10 krad of ionising radiation. A full qualification campaign as prescribed by ESA was carried out, covering harsh environmental, radiation and life test conditions.

The Proba-V project is funded by the European Space Agency and the General Support Technology Programme, with QinetiQ Space as the mission prime and OIP Sensor Systems in Belgium as the prime contractor for the payload onboard.