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Proceedings Paper

Formation flying metrology for the ESA-PROBA3 mission: the Shadow Position Sensors (SPS) silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) readout electronics
Author(s): M. Focardi; A. Bemporad; S. Buckley; K. O'Neill; S. Fineschi; V. Noce; M. Pancrazzi; F. Landini; C. Baccani; G. Capobianco; M. Romoli; D. Loreggia; G. Nicolini; G. Massone; C. Thizy; J. S. Servaye; E. Renotte
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Paper Abstract

The European Space Agency (ESA) is planning to launch in 2018 the PROBA3 Mission, designed to demonstrate the inorbit formation flying (FF) attitude capability of its two satellites and to observe the inner part of the visible solar corona as the main scientific objective.

The solar corona will be observed thanks to the presence on the first satellite, facing the Sun, of an external occulter producing an artificial eclipse of the Sun disk. The second satellite will carry on the coronagraph telescope and the digital camera system in order to perform imaging of the inner part of the corona in visible polarized light, from 1.08 R⦿ up to about 3 R⦿.

One of the main metrological subsystems used to control and to maintain the relative (i.e. between the two satellites) and absolute (i.e. with respect to the Sun) FF attitude is the Shadow Position Sensor (SPS) assembly. It is composed of eight micro arrays of silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) able to measure with the required sensitivity and dynamic range the penumbral light intensity on the Coronagraph entrance pupil.

In the following of the present paper we describe the overall SPS subsystem and its readout electronics with respect to the capability to satisfy the mission requirements, from the light conversion process on board the silicon-based SPS devices up to the digital signal readout and sampling.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 2015
PDF: 18 pages
Proc. SPIE 9604, Solar Physics and Space Weather Instrumentation VI, 96040D (21 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2186948
Show Author Affiliations
M. Focardi, INAF - Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
A. Bemporad, INAF - Turin Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
S. Buckley, SensL (Ireland)
K. O'Neill, SensL (Ireland)
S. Fineschi, INAF - Turin Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
V. Noce, INAF - Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
M. Pancrazzi, INAF - Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
F. Landini, INAF - Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
C. Baccani, Univ. of Florence (Italy)
G. Capobianco, INAF - Turin Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
M. Romoli, Univ. of Florence (Italy)
D. Loreggia, INAF - Turin Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
G. Nicolini, INAF - Turin Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
G. Massone, INAF - Turin Astrophysical Observatory (Italy)
C. Thizy, Ctr. Spatial de Liege (Belgium)
J. S. Servaye, Ctr. Spatial de Liege (Belgium)
E. Renotte, Ctr. Spatial de Liege (Belgium)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9604:
Solar Physics and Space Weather Instrumentation VI
Silvano Fineschi; Judy Fennelly, Editor(s)

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