TOKYO /Marketwired/ -- On the 6th of June, 2013, e2v high-performance imaging sensors were launched into space on board the European Space Agency's (ESA) Albert Einstein spacecraft, the fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to be sent to the International Space Station (ISS).
e2v CCD47-20 imaging sensors were selected by SODERN as part of the two key systems they delivered for the ATV: an SED16 star tracker, an optical device used for determining the orientation of the spacecraft by measuring its position relative to stars, and a Videometer, a system SODERN developed that is the primary rendezvous and docking sensor for the spacecraft. Built under Astrium prime contractorship, the first three ATVs (Jules Verne, Johannes Kepler, and Edoardo Amaldi) were also equipped with these e2v imaging sensors and successfully completed their missions in 2008, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
The Albert Einstein ATV was carried into orbit onboard an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana and hauled almost 7 tons of cargo to the ISS 360 km above the Earth. The spacecraft is the most powerful automatic spaceship ever built and is equipped with its own propulsion and a high-precision navigation system. e2v imaging sensors will automatically guide it into dock at the ISS, playing a key part in approaching and docking maneuvers that are so precise that, when 249 m away from the ISS, the ATV will slow to 7 cm a second. The ISS relies on frequent deliveries of equipment, fuel, spare parts, food, air, and water for its permanent crew. The unmanned ATV is essential in delivering supplies to the ISS and will stay attached to the station, providing reboost and attitude control. Once undocked, it will be commanded to burn up in the atmosphere over an uninhabited area of the southern Pacific Ocean.
e2v's marketing manager, Jon Kemp said, "Albert Einstein is the fourth ATV to have been launched into space. e2v's imaging sensors are a key component in enabling the ATV to successfully dock with the ISS and provide essential wet and dry cargo to the astronauts on board."
e2v is a leading global provider of specialist technology for high-performance systems and equipment, delivering solutions, sub-systems, and components for applications within medical and science, aerospace and defense, and commercial and industrial markets.
e2v employs approximately 1,650 people, has design and operational facilities across Europe, North America, and Asia, and has a global network of sales and technical support offices. For the year ending March 31, 2012, e2v reported sales of £235,000,000.