Highly compact and High performance Camera System (H2CS) for CubeSat

Camera1&2 FPAs and Main Electronics integrated with the Lens
Camera1 FPA and Main Electronics integrated with the Lens

The H2CS is a highly compact and high performance camera system specifically designed for CubeSat and more in general for very small Spacecraft Platform. The Camera System is composed of a primary Camera with a narrow field of view (NFOV) and motorized lens, so to provide autofocus capability, and a secondary Camera with a wide field of view (WFOV). The NFOV motorized lens and the WFOV lens have been developed by Optec, a partner of TSD and can be modified in accordance with specific requirements. Both cameras can be equipped with a 12Mpixel B/W or color CMOS image sensor and share a common main electronics. The System offers real time image processing capability and includes also a non-volatile mass memory for raw and processed image data storage.

The Camera System can be provided with different qualification grades of the components, so to withstand the environment conditions of the specific space mission. Most of the components, on which the design is based, are available also in space grade version, like for instance the RT3PE3000L MICROSEMI Flash FPGA, the RHFL4913KPA ST linear power regulators, the TPS50601-RHA Texas switching power regulators, the OP484AM/QMLL Analog Devices operational amplifiers, etc.; the remaining ones, non-selectable as space grade components, for accommodation reasons (like the SDRAM, MRAM, Motor Driver) or because not available on the market (like the CMOS Image Sensor and the NAND Flash Mass Memory), have been carefully selected through a qualification campaign including radiation tests too.

The Camera System is based on three subsystems:

  • Camera1 FPA and main Electronics (common to both cameras)
  • Camera2 FPA including CMOS image sensor electronics and power supply
  • Focusing Motorized Lens EEE parts Assembly

Two subsystems Camera1 and Camera2 are each based on a single rigid-flexible PCB, so to avoid interconnection connectors and thus reducing volume and mass and improving the reliability (in respect of the thermo-structural environment), thanks to the thermal and mechanical decoupling between the different sections.

The power and data links, towards the spacecraft, are also based on flexible PCBs, thus avoiding the use of cabling; obviously the length of those flexible PCBs can be modified or alternative solutions can be adopted to fulfil the harness requirements of the specific application.