European Space Agency, ON Semiconductor to develop next-generation star tracker CMOS image sensor

PHOENIX, 9 April 2012. ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq:ONNN), a supplier of silicon solutions for energy-efficient electronics, and the European Space Agency (ESA) are jointly developing High Accuracy Star Tracker 3 (HAS3). The next-generation complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor (CIS) is designed to be a 1280x1280-pixel, radiation-tolerant CMOS image sensor featuring low read noise and 14-bit performance.

The HAS3 sensor will support multiple windowing, will be available in a fully hermetic sealed package, and will have the option for backside illumination. Applications for the HAS3 device will include star trackers, sun sensors, and other scientific applications.

ON Semiconductor’s existing HAS2 CIS, developed and qualified under the General Support Technology Program of the ESA, is designed for Attitude and Orbit Control (AOCS) space applications. The device features an array of 1024 x 1024 active pixels and supports on-chip, non-destructive readout and multiple windowing.

The next-generation HAS3 being jointly developed with the ESA is expected to equip a new generation of APS Star Tracker.

“The company recognized that the HAS2 image sensor is a key component in multimillion-dollar programs for which no acceptable replacement exists today for our customers. To support our customers and partners, the company made the decision and financial investment to secure sufficient wafer inventory to cover both our existing order backlog and the potential future demand for these HAS2 products from Plessey. We are proud to be a part of the ongoing development of advance image sensor technology supporting the aerospace market,” says Vince Hopkin, vice president of digital, mil-aero, and CMOS image sensor products at ON Semiconductor.

“ESA have been working diligently with ON Semiconductor to secure and maintain the supply of the HAS2 image sensor. We are very pleased with the level of procured wafer stock and are convinced that this is more than sufficient for the foreseeable future. ESA is looking forward to the continued collaboration with ON Semiconductor to monitor and safeguard the supply of these components while simultaneously developing the next-generation products,” says Stephen Airey of the ESA’s Control Systems Division.

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