Essex-based global technology firm, Teledyne e2v, have provided NASA’s New Horizons mission with two specialist image sensors that have captured images of Ultima Thule, 6.5 billion km from Earth. The event set the record for the most distant ever visit to a Solar System body (Kuiper Belt).

One of the image sensors is the Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), which is a black and white telescopic camera that has a 1k x 1k pixel image sensor at its core, CCD47-20. The other sensor, CCD96, powers Ralph – a 5k wide multi-colour scanning imager. The image sensors have been designed to be extremely sensitive and to work perfectly during their short flybys as New Horizons travels at 33,000 miles per hour and objects at the Kuiper Belt do not reflect a lot of light.


Teledyne e2v involved in over 150 space projects

The New Horizons mission was launched in January 2006 to examine Pluto, its moon Charon and other ice worlds at the edge of the solar system. In 2015, Teledyne e2v’s image sensors captured the first ever close-up image of dwarf planet, Pluto.

“Very little is known about Pluto. It is classed as an icy dwarf, with a significant part of its mass believed to be made up of ice. It is so far away that even images from Hubble, which also uses [Teledyne] e2v image sensors, are very blurred. Developing bespoke sensors for this mission is a great example of how we are bringing life to technology.”

Dr Paul Jerram
Chief Engineer
Teledyne e2v

Teledyne e2v has also been involved in over 150 space projects by the world’s largest space agencies, including NASA, ESA, JAXA, CNSA and for the Russian-led World Space Observatory.

Teledyne e2v has also contributed to the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission, which successfully landed a probe onto comet 67p in November 2014. Here, Teledyne e2v provided high performance image sensors produced at its Chelmsford (UK) and Grenoble (France) facilities to equip instruments on the mission.

To find out more about Teledyne e2v, read our case study here.

Image sensors on NASA

Essex the ideal location for High-Technology businesses

Essex is the location of choice for high-technology businesses seeking world-class knowledge, highly skilled personnel, access to specialist funding and global connectivity.

With close proximity to both Cambridge and London, Essex provides businesses with easy access to the UK’s major centres of technology innovation and funding, in combination with a significantly reduced cost base. Essex is home to a cluster of leading businesses in the high-technology industry including BAE Systems, Raytheon, Leonardo and Thames Card Technology.

The companies in Essex’s high-tech cluster research, develop and manufacture products across diverse technology areas including ICT, electronics, optics, sensors and advanced engineering, serving industry sectors such as:

  • Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space
  • Automotive and Transportation
  • Life Sciences and Healthcare
  • Renewable Energies
High technology business

Visit Teledyne e2v’s website to find out more:

[Source: Teledyne e2v, BBC News]