Development and Flight Results from the C3D2 Imager Payload on AlSat Nano

Holland, Andrew; Burgon, Ross; Holland, Karen; Colebrook, David; Jerram, Paul; Taylor, Ben and Duke, Richard (2018). Development and Flight Results from the C3D2 Imager Payload on AlSat Nano. In: ESA 4S Symposium, 28 May - 01 Jun 2018, Naples.



An experimental CubeSat camera system using 3 separate CMOS imagers was flown in 2014 on UKube-1. In response to an announcement opportunity in December 2014, we proposed an upgrade to our C3D imager payload, which was accepted to fly on AlSat Nano. Launched in September 2016 the system has been operational for over 1 year and has returned both images and housekeeping data, including detailed temperature and radiation dosimetry measurements. Through these in-orbit demonstrations on CubeSans, the image sensors and payload have attained TRL9, and these are now being used in other flight opportunities. In this paper we describe the C3D imager payload, which comprises 3 independent CMOS image sensors used in different camera systems; two wide field cameras are specifically optimised with one to observe the Earth from the 650 km orbit, and the other with its focus set to 40 cm to observe a deployable boom from the CubeSat. The experiment controller also contained thermometry and two RADFET dosimeters, one located on the payload, with the other deployed at a different point on the spacecraft.

In this paper we will describe the experiment design and operational performance, and review the in-orbit data obtained during the operations covering over 17 months in-orbit, in addition to discussing lessons learned from the flight experience. We also discuss further developments of the payload concept which we are currently working on toward future flight opportunities.

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