Today Keith Attwood, CEO of e2v, the global provider of solutions for space and Vladimir Nevolin, deputy director of the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (LPI) signed a contract for the first phase of a multi-million pound project, at the MAKS International Aviation and Space Show in Zhukovsky, Russia. The contract is for the supply of a high performance imaging sub-system to equip the ultraviolet spectrographs on board the World Space Observatory – Ultraviolet (WSO-UV).
The WSO-UV is a major international collaboration led by Russia to build and operate a 1.7 metre primary space telescope. It will work in the ultraviolet range of the spectrum and will study the Universe in wavelengths beyond the reach of ground-based instruments. The optics of the observatory – the telescope, equipped with high and low resolution spectrographs, will be made in Russia whilst e2v will supply UV cameras for spectrographs. The Institute of Astronomy, Russian Academy of Sciences (INASAN) is the science contractor for the mission and will work with LPI RAS.
e2v will be designing and building a turn-key sub-system which will consist of Charged Coupled Device (CCD) image sensors, cryostat enclosures and drive electronics for all three of the spectrographs on board WSO-UV.
As the mission requires short wavelengths, e2v’s high performance back-thinned image sensors will be configured and tested for optimum Quantum Efficiency (QE) between 120nm and 310nm, a range considerably lower than the typical 270nm test limit. e2v will also design a custom vacuum cryostat enclosure to ensure stable operation at short wavelengths. e2v is working with RAL Space’s Imaging Systems at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) for the supply of the specialist, space qualified CCD drive electronics. Another significant feature of the sub-system is the ability to integrate for up to an hour and readout low signal levels with very low noise. This is achieved using an e2v image sensor, special video processing electronics from RAL and the low temperature operation (-100degC) provided by the cryostat.
The telescope is planned for launch into space in 2016.
Keith Attwood, CEO of e2v said “We are very pleased to be supplying a full imaging sub-system for the WSO-UV. This contract represents the biggest order we have ever received from a Russian organisation and we are excited to be part of this mission which, with the help of our imaging system, will study the Universe in wavelengths beyond the reach of ground-based instruments. Given the international nature of this project I am delighted that we are able to demonstrate the quality of British technology in an industry which requires the highest levels of performance and brings together suppliers from around the world.”
Also attending the signing were representatives from the British Embassy who have supported this relationship, including Barbara Habberjam, Minister Counsellor (Economic and Trade & Investment), UKTI British Embassy Moscow, Olga Makarchuk, Advanced Engineering and Transport, UKTI British Consulate-General St Petersburg and Anastasia Akhmedshina, UKTI British Embassy Moscow.
The development of the technology required for this programme has been supported by a UK Regional Growth Fund (RGF) grant.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
e2v is a leading global provider of specialist technology for high performance systems and equipment; delivering solutions, sub-systems and components for applications within medical & science, aerospace & defence, and commercial & industrial markets.
e2v employs approximately 1600 people, has design and operational facilities across Europe, North America and Asia, and has a global network of sales and technical support offices. e2v has annual sales of GBP200m and is listed on the London Stock Exchange