e2v Awarded Image Sensor Contract
CHELMSFORD, UK, Oct. 26, 2010 — The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded e2v Technologies plc a contract to develop a new CCD imaging sensor for the Euclid space science mission. The aim of the mission, through the Euclid visible channel instrument, is to map and survey the shapes of galaxies to investigate the geometry of the dark universe through weak gravitational lensing.
Weak gravitational lensing requires extremely high image quality to measure the true distortions of light via gravity. The company’s image sensors will form the visible focal plane array in the Euclid space telescope. The CCDs will be large-area back-illuminated devices optimized for 550 to 920 nm, and will be manufactured for close-buttability to minimize dead areas in the focal plane and to reduce the telescope size, mass and cost.
Once launched, the satellite will orbit the sun 1.5 million km beyond the earth for a period of 5 years. During that time, the extragalactic sky will be surveyed, which is about half of the full sky, excluding the Milky Way.
The mission is in a competitive definition phase with two other ESA Cosmic Vision programs: Solar Orbiter and Plato, for which e2v also has won a development contract. The two successful missions will be selected in June 2011 and will be carried forward into implementation leading to a launch in 2018.
Jon Kemp, marketing and applications manager, said, “e2v is excited to be developing this new high-performance image sensor for ESA’s Euclid mission. If taken forward to the flight phase, information on the nature of dark matter and energy will accelerate the discovery of answers to many of today’s biggest scientific questions.”
For more information, visit: www.e2v.com
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