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29 August 2017 An improved version of the Shadow Position Sensor readout electronics on-board the ESA PROBA-3 Mission
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PROBA-3 [1] [2] is a Mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) composed by two satellites flying in formation and aimed at achieving unprecedented performance in terms of relative positioning. The mission purpose is, in first place, technological: the repeated formation break and acquisition during each orbit (every about twenty hours) will be useful to demonstrate the efficacy of the closed-loop control system in keeping the formation-flying (FF) and attitude (i.e. the alignment with respect to the Sun) of the system. From the scientific side, instead, the two spacecraft will create a giant instrument about 150 m long: an externally occulted coronagraph named ASPIICS (Association of Spacecraft for Polarimetric and Imaging Investigation of the Corona of the Sun) dedicated to the study of the inner part of the visible solar corona. The two satellites composing the mission are: the Coronagraph Spacecraft (CSC), hosting the Coronagraph Instrument (CI), and the disk-shaped (1.4 m diameter) Occulter Spacecraft (OSC). The PROBA-3 GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) system will employ several metrological subsystems to keep and retain the desired relative position and the absolute attitude (i.e. with respect to the Sun) of the aligned spacecraft, when in observational mode. The SPS subsystem [5] is one of these metrological instruments. It is composed of eight silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs), sensors operated in photovoltaic mode [6] that will sense the penumbra light around the Instrument’s pupil so to detect any FF displacement from the nominal position. In proximity of the CDR (Critical Design Review) phase, we describe in the present paper the changes occurred to design in the last year in consequence of the tests performed on the SPS Breadboard (Evaluation Board, EB) and the SPS Development Model (DM) and that will finally lead to the realization of the flight version of the SPS system.
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V. Noce, M. Focardi, S. Buckley, A. Bemporad, S. Fineschi, M. Pancrazzi, F. Landini, C. Baccani, G. Capobianco, D. Loreggia, M. Casti, M. Romoli, L. Accatino, C. Thizy, F. Denis, and P. Ledent "An improved version of the Shadow Position Sensor readout electronics on-board the ESA PROBA-3 Mission", Proc. SPIE 10397, UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XX, 103971B (29 August 2017);

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