Engineers work on star trackers for the WorldView-2 remote sensing spacecraft.
Ball Aerospace star trackers are small aperture, space-qualified optical products that assure a spacecraft’s accurate attitude in space. Used in civil, commercial and defense satellite systems, Ball Aerospace star trackers have an unparalleled history of on-orbit success for every mission flown in the company’s 40-plus years of production. Ball Aerospace provides star trackers for the Space Shuttle and is the only company in the U.S. that has built human-rated, reusable star trackers.
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Ball Aerospace has an unmatched record of success providing human-rated navigation hardware for NASA. The company has supplied star trackers for multiple space shuttle missions since 1982.
The Ball Aerospace CT-600 series star trackers have 250 years of cumulative flight experience, with more than 30 Ball Aerospace star trackers in operation.
The Ball Aerospace CT-611 solid-state (charge coupled device-based) shuttle star tracker is NASA-certified for 100 shuttle missions.
Ball Aerospace also builds the CT-602 and CT-633 trackers. The CT-633 provides attitude information to the spacecraft, while the CT-602 provides star positions for use by the spacecraft’s flight computer.
The Ball Aerospace FSC-701 star tracker employs the latest in focal plane technology, electronics, and optics to provide customers with an adaptable system suitable for a wide variety of applications.
In addition, the company has designed star trackers that can function in high levels of radiation during scientific and defense missions.
The CT-633 star tracker provides state-of-the-art attitude sensing and contains its own star catalog and attitude algorithms.
The company’s success with star trackers has led to products similar in design for spacecraft structural metrology, cloud cameras for Earth remote sensing, and general-purpose space cameras.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory utilizes the Ball Aerospace Aspect Camera star tracker. Development of this tracker laid the foundation for the company’s High Accuracy Star Tracker (HAST). Both the Aspect Camera and the HAST achieve sub-arc second angular accuracy.
Committed to continuous improvement, innovative engineers at Ball Aerospace enhance the star tracker product line as soon as new electronics and photo detection technologies become available. All of the company’s star trackers can be quickly and efficiently customized to customer needs.