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A Miniaturized Two Axis Sun Sensor for Attitude Control of Nano-Satellites

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11 Author(s)
Ortega, P. ; Dept. de Ing. Electron., Univ. Politec. de Cataluna (UPC), Barcelona, Spain ; López-Rodríguez, G. ; Ricart, J. ; Domínguez, M.
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This paper describes the design, fabrication, characterization, and satellite integration of a miniaturized two axis sun sensor which has been used in the attitude control system of the Spanish nano-satellite NANOSAT-1B. This device is made of four silicon photodiodes monolithically integrated in a crystalline silicon substrate, protected by a transparent cover glass assembled on the same silicon die against space radiation damage. The sensor fabrication combines standard silicon processing technology with a high performance solar cell fabrication process. The sensor, including electronics and mechanical and electrical interfacing with the satellite, has a small size (3 cm × 3 cm) and low weight (24 gr.), with a sun field-of-view greater than ±60° with an angle accuracy better than 0.15°. Three of these sensors have already been integrated in the NANOSAT-1B platform that has been successfully launched in July 2009.

Published in:

Sensors Journal, IEEE  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 10 )