Airbus Defence and Space


Sun Sensors

The longest serie of sun sensors in Europe

Since 20 years, Airbus Defence and Space is manufacturing Analogue and Digital Sun Sensors.

250 units have already been ordered on Communication, Earth observation and Scientific satellites, and among them 120 are already in orbit, cumulating more than 400 years without failure. Those figures give to AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE a leading position in Europe for sun sensors

Features / technical details

This experience was gained with three products :

  • the SSD, a very accurate Digital Sun Sensor using CCD. It was designed for high accurate earth observation where a high level of performances is required.-
  • the BASS, a robust large FOV analogue Coarse Sun Sensor, used for safety modes in both Low orbit Earth observation and Geostationary orbit telecommunication mission.-
  • the LIASS, an accurate and low cost Linear Analogue Sun Sensor, used for transfer and geostationary orbits on telecommunication satellites

Space sensors like sun sensors units shall be tested deeply on the ground to guarantee their performance capability into orbit. The qualification and acceptance tests shall be as far as possible representative of the space environment.

In consequence, AIRBUS DEFENCE AND SPACE has developed test facilities, like representative sun simulators (0.5 sun intensity, same spectrum, same apparent angle), rotating table (1 arcsecond accurate), thermal chambers (-100 °C/+100 °C) and calibration procedures to test sun sensors in space representative environment.


All types of spacecraft

Reference customers

ESA, CNES, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Eutelsat, Hispasat, ...