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13 July 2010

CMOS imaging sensors, assembled and qualified for space applications by e2v, onboard South Korea’s first weather communications satellite

On 26th June 2010, Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) imaging sensors, assembled and qualified for space applications by e2v, were launched into space onboard the Communications, Oceanography and Meteorology Satellite (COMS-1), South Korea’s first weather communications satellite manufactured by Astrium.

The satellite was jointly developed by the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and Astrium in France. It will be placed in geostationary orbit 36,000 km from Earth carrying three payloads dedicated to meteorology applications, ocean observation and telecommunications. CMOS imaging sensors equip the Geostationary Ocean Colour Instrument (GOCI) from Astrium, which is a multi-spectrum camera that will help gather high quality ocean meteorological data including typhoons, ocean temperatures, dust movement and cloud formation.

The 2 Mega pixel COBRA 2M CMOS image sensors were developed by Astrium and the circuit designed by ISAE-CIMI (Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace). e2v utilised its space-dedicated industrial manufacturing capabilities to package, space qualify and deliver “flight model“ sensors. The imaging arrays will provide multi-spectral data to detect, monitor, quantify and predict short-term changes on the coastal ocean environment around Korea, for marine science research and applications purpose. The sensors will be amongst the first CMOS sensors in an operational mission in geostationary orbit.

For this project e2v demonstrated its expertise in manufacturing space imaging sensors, including:

  • Handling of CMOS wafers
  • Sensor assembly following space standard processes and space quality levels
  • Space qualification and detector screening

Michel Tulet, Head of the electro-optics & microwaves detection department at EADS Astrium, France said “Key to the success in developing this new generation imaging sensor for such a high performance instrument has been the collaboration between the three partners. Each demonstrates excellence in their specific field of expertise within the space imaging domain; Astrium in imaging sensor architecture, performances characterisation and modelling, ISAE in CMOS sensor leading edge technologies and sophisticated designs, and e2v in back-end processing and management of the space qualification process”.

Jean-François Bruyères strategic manager of space & defence imaging at e2v said, “This exciting project has proven to be an excellent demonstration of e2v’s reliable space manufacturing capability. Coupled with our long experience in CMOS sensor design and our heritage in image sensor qualification, we are very well positioned for future space projects.”

COMS-1 satellite | e2v CMOS image sensors | imaging sensor | EADS Astrium

COMS satellite during final integration phase

Jessica Broom Tel: + 44 (0) 1 245 453 607


e2v’s objective is to be a global leader in the design and supply of specialised components and sub-systems that enable the world’s leading systems companies to deliver innovative solutions for medical and science, aerospace and defence, and commercial and industrial markets.

e2v has 4 major product groups:

  • High performance electron devices and subsystems for applications including defence electronic countermeasures, radiotherapy cancer treatment, and radar systems
  • Advanced Imaging sensors and cameras for applications including industrial process control, dental X-ray systems, space science and life sciences
  • Specialist semiconductors, including logic, memory and microprocessors for high reliability mission-critical programs in avionics, defence and telecommunications, sensor data acquisition, and high speed data conversion
  • A range of professional sensing products for applications including fire, rescue and security thermal imaging, X-ray spectroscopy, and military surveillance, targeting and guidance

For the year ended 31 March 2010, e2v achieved sales of £201m and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. In October 2008 e2v acquired QP semiconductor, a leading US-based designer and supplier of specialty semiconductor components used in military and aerospace applications, establishing e2v’s first US manufacturing base.

The Company is headquartered in the United Kingdom and has approximately 1700 employees in six production facilities across Europe and North America. e2v also operates a global network of sales and technical support offices, supported by local distributors and resellers.

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