Sensors 2011, 11(10), 9764-9777; doi:10.3390/s111009764
Article

Investigation of Digital Sun Sensor Technology with an N-Shaped Slit Mask

State Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments, Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 August 2011; in revised form: 27 September 2011 / Accepted: 17 October 2011 / Published: 18 October 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract: Nowadays sun sensors are being more widely used in satellites to determine the sunray orientation, thus development of a new version of sun sensor with lighter mass, lower power consumption and smaller size it of considerable interest. This paper introduces such a novel digital sun sensor, which is composed of a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) mask with an N-shaped slit as well as a single linear array charge-coupled device (CCD). The sun sensor can achieve the measurement of two-axis sunray angles according to the three sun spot images on the CCD formed by sun light illumination through the mask. Given the CCD glass layer, an iterative algorithm is established to correct the refraction error. Thus, system resolution, update rate and other characteristics are improved based on the model simulation and system design. The test of sun sensor prototype is carried out on a three-axis rotating platform with a sun simulator. The test results show that the field of view (FOV) is ±60° × ±60° and the accuracy is 0.08 degrees of arc (3σ) in the whole FOV. Since the power consumption of the prototype is only 300 mW and the update rate is 14 Hz, the novel digital sun sensor can be applied broadly in micro/nano-satellites, even pico-satellites.
Keywords: sun sensor; N-shaped slit; linear CCD; simulation; prototype design

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wei, M.-S.; Xing, F.; Li, B.; You, Z. Investigation of Digital Sun Sensor Technology with an N-Shaped Slit Mask. Sensors 2011, 11, 9764-9777.

AMA Style

Wei M-S, Xing F, Li B, You Z. Investigation of Digital Sun Sensor Technology with an N-Shaped Slit Mask. Sensors. 2011; 11(10):9764-9777.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wei, Min-Song; Xing, Fei; Li, Bin; You, Zheng. 2011. "Investigation of Digital Sun Sensor Technology with an N-Shaped Slit Mask." Sensors 11, no. 10: 9764-9777.

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