May 24, 2006, Essex, United Kingdom--e2v technologies supplied image sensors for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-N, which has a window for launch today. GOES-N is the latest in a series of satellites that monitor Earth and space weather systems to improve predictions regarding hurricanes, flash floods and severe storm warnings, and to help track global climate change.
e2v supplied 20 flight model and 20 engineering model charge coupled devices (CCDs) for GOES-N, O and P. Destined for the spacecraft's new Solar X-ray Imager (SXI), designed and built at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California, the imaging devices were supplied in a custom designed package. e2v worked closely with University College London's Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) and Lockheed on the design, characterisation and supply of the e2v CCDs for this programme.
Each full-frame e2v CCD64 has an image area of 512(h) x 580(v) pixels; each pixel is 16.0 µm square. The devices are back-illuminated to an optimised device thickness, to ensure the maximum X-ray mean charge capture performance of the devices.
SXI utilises a telescope assembly, which monitors the sun's X-ray emissions. This allows solar features, such as solar flares and charged particle clouds to be analysed and fed into space weather forecasts.
e2v's outstanding performance in support of the SXI programme was recognised by Lockheed, who presented e2v (and MSSL) with a 'superior performance' award. The new CCD package design concept for GOES-N-P has since become a standard that was repeated on the Focal Plane Package for Solar-B and more recently the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Further launches are planned for SXI on future GOES satellites.
GOES-N is currently scheduled for launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA, on 24 May, 2006, at 6:11 pm EDT.