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23 June 2015

Sofradir delivers a record 24 IR detectors for ESA's Sentinel 2 space mission

Sofradir of Palaiseau near Paris, France, which makes cooled infrared (IR) detectors based on mercury cadmium telluride (MCT/HgCdTe), indium antimonide (InSb), quantum-well infrared photodetector (QWIP) and indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) technology for military, space and industrial applications, has delivered 24 shortwave infrared detectors (SWIR) to Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) for the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 mission.

Picture: A shortwave infrared detector for the Sentinel-2A satellite. .

ADS provided two MultiSpectral Imager instruments (MSI) that will provide high-resolution infrared optical imaging to monitor the Earth and hence provide continuity for the SPOT (an Earth observation system) and Landsat missions. The MSI will measure the Earth's reflected radiance in 13 spectral bands, from the visible (440nm) to shortwave infrared (2190nm). To meet the requirements of the space mission, 12 of Sofradir's SWIR detectors are on board the Sentinel-2A satellite that launched on 23 June. The remaining 12 devices are assigned to the Sentinel 2B satellite, whose launch is planned for 2016.

Large-format SWIR detectors (1200 x 3 effective lines, 15μm pitch) are highly complex devices that only a handful of manufacturers in the world can produce to space-grade standards, claims the firm. Sofradir is the only European manufacturer to have its IR detectors deployed in space.

"Sofradir's lengthening track record in space missions, the maturity of its technology and unfailing performance of its IR detectors in extreme conditions fulfill the criteria that space agencies and equipment makers seek from suppliers," says Philippe Chorier, space department director at Sofradir. Over the past decade, Sofradir has delivered nearly 70 IR detector flight models for space programs.

Tags: Sofradir HgCdTe IR detectors

Visit: www.sofradir.com

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