NSS Fine Sun Sensor

NSS Fine Sun Sensor


A sun sensor determines a spacecraft’s orientation with respect to the sun. The front surface of the NewSpace Systems (NSS) NFSS-411 sensor is a synthetic sapphire window with a reflective metal coating beneath. Slits are etched in the metal and sunlight passes through them and through an optical filter onto a sensor. The charge on the photo-sensors is read by the microcontroller which processes the image and computes the sun vector. the vector and other telemetry are returned to the spacecraft through the serial interface. The NSS Fine Sun Sensor accepts the configuration commands and outputs digital angles and telemetry over a serial interface to the on-board computer. The unit can be powered from unregulated DC power from the spacecraft.

Vendor: NewSpace Systems
Sold By : NewSpace Systems Category:
  • Features
  • Performance
  • Applications
  • Qualification
  • Documents
  • Ultra small size and low mass
  • Low power
  • Simple to interface
  • Wide field of view
  • NFSS-411: Digital architecture
  • NCSS-SA05: PSD architecture
  • NFSS-411: Calibration embedded
  • NCSS-SA05: Simple analogue interface
Field of view 114° 140°
Update rate >10 Hz (limited by customer ADC) 5 Hz typical
Accuracy <0.5° RMS error over FOV <0.1° RMS error over the FOV
Dimensions 33 mm x 11 mm x 6 mm 34 mm x 32 mm x 20 mm
Mass <5 g <35 g
Power <10 mA <37.5 mW average, 130 mW peak
Thermal (operational) -25 °C to +70 °C -25 °C to +70 °C
Vibration (qualification) 20 gRMS (random) 16.3 gRMS (random), 5000 g shock
Radiation (TID) n.a. 10 krad (component level)
Power supply 5 VDC 5 VDC to 50 VDC (5 VDC nominal)
Data 5 analogue channels RS-485 UART
Connector 9-way female Nano-D 9-way female Micro-D
Mechanical 3 x M2 threaded holes 4 x #2 Socket Head Cap Screw (or M2)

• Accurate determination of sun-angle
• Can be used in conjunction with a magnetometer for simple attitude control
• Can be used as safe-mode sensors on gyro or star-mapper controlled systems
• NFSS-411: Four sensors can achieve full sky coverage
• NCSS-SA05: Six sensors can achieve full sky coverage

The NFSS-411 was first flown in 2007. Since then, it has been used on a number of constellations with a total of over 100 delivered. The NCSS-SA05 has also been delivered, more than one hundred units, to a multitude of international satellite programmes.