Catégorie : Space optronics

“November 08, 2023 – Sodern is pleased to announce the launch of the Auricam range of compact space cameras suitable for all orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO), at reduced cost and deliverable within a few weeks of order. The versatile Auricam cameras have been designed to cover a wide range of missions, such as space surveillance and protection, ensuring the continuity and security of operations, in-orbit or rendezvous services, navigation and scientific exploration. The Auricam range includes two launch models offering two fields of view: Auricam D35 and Auricam D80.

Auricam draws on over fifty years of Sodern experience in space equipment development. Most recently, Sodern developed the navigation cameras for the European JUICE (NASA) and Earth Return Orbiter (NASA/ESA) missions. The latter, used for the mission to return Martian samples to Earth, is capable of detecting a twenty-centimeter capsule close to the Martian atmosphere at a distance of over 3,000 km.

Auricam cameras benefit from Sodern’s optoelectronic expertise and extensive resources. The Auricam range thus achieves a high level of performance in detecting debris, small satellites or rocket bodies up to magnitudes 6 to 8, while delivering excellent image quality thanks to a 4-million-pixel CMOS sensor.

Auricam cameras are available in two models to meet all operational needs.

A representative digital twin model will complete the offer to facilitate integration by satellite prime contractors. This model is based on a simulation tool developed by Sodern, and validated in flight for more than 10 years now on star tracker and camera projects.


The design of Auricam cameras has been specially developed to offer reduced size and weight, without compromising on robustness and performance. While being resistant to radiative environments, the mass of the Auricam D35 is only 420g for a volume of 71 x 59 x 140 mm3; and 450g and a volume of 71 x 59 x 150 mm3 for the D80. Power consumption is also optimized, at less than 2 watts.

Auricam cameras are equipped with standardized, off-the-shelf, tried-and-tested components to ensure optimum reliability combined with rapid delivery. Thus, our highly industrialized manufacturing process guarantees delivery within three to four months, depending on the options chosen.

“When in 2019, with Auriga™, we launched the first space star tracker designed for high-volume production, we were betting on the fact that space would become a major issue requiring ever shorter time-to-market in a context of increased competitiveness.

4 years later, strengthened by the confirmation of what is today a reality: we are launching a range of high-performance cameras that builds on the foundations of what has made Auriga™ so successful; the same mechanical interfaces, the same communication interfaces and, above all, the same reliability and off-the-shelf availability.

Our mission is to enable our customers to succeed in their missions, by providing high-quality, reliable equipment in the shortest possible time-frame,” says Fabien Robert, Vice-President Development & Sales.

The Auricam range is qualified for a lifetime of 15 years in geostationary orbit.

The development of this camera has benefited from support from CNES as part of the Investment in the Future Plan (PIA) launched by the French government.”

Download the press release

Catégorie : Space optronics

The Hydra Access tracker is the latest addition to the well-known Hydra range of high-end star trackers. Offering exceptional quality and resilience, Hydra trackers have been flown on major institutional and scientific missions for several countries, as well as on telecommunication and observation satellites in all orbits for 12 years.

Hydra Access is a standardized and simplified version of the Hydra-CP high-end star tracker in terms of testing, integration and reviews. In exactly the same way as Hydra-CP, it is composed of an optical head which integrates the image pre-processing.
Hydra Access trackers are mass-produced using new industrial production methods, and are designed, manufactured and tested to improve productivity throughout the manufacturing chain in order to optimize production costs.
This off-the-shelf batch manufacturing process enables Hydra Access to offer a high-end tracker with low lead-time at an affordable price. Hydra Access thus meets the needs of Newspace companies wishing to upgrade their product range with more precise attitude control. It also meets the expectations of traditional players seeking greater profitability for their space programs.

Discover Hydra Access star tracker in video

Hydra Access benefits from the same technical capabilities and reliability as the Hydra CP high-end trackers, inherited from over fifty years of Sodern experience in developing advanced space equipment. Hydra Access is designed to meet the most demanding accuracy and robustness requirements. Using the HAS-2 CMOS sensor and proven star detection algorithms, it offers an acquisition time of less than 2 seconds and an attitude retrieval accuracy of approximately 1 arcsec.

In addition, Hydra Access has a thermoelectric sensor cooling system that can be activated on demand, according to the needs of the mission. Hydra Access also benefits from an embedded star catalog, a library of algorithms and advanced software.
“We designed Hydra Access with the aim of offering a tracker with exceptional and recognized performance, that is immediately available and at a lower price. I am convinced that Hydra Access will become the new standard in the high-end star tracker market, offering an ideal alternative for budget constrained missions”, explains Fabien Robert, Sales & Marketing Director.

Hydra Access is designed with hardened, radiation-resistant lenses and is available with a 26° protective baffle.

The design of Hydra Access benefits from the in-flight experience of Hydra optical heads, representing over 5 million hours of fault-free operation since 2012. More than 300 Hydra trackers are currently in flight. Hydra Access also offers a lifetime of more than 18 years in geostationary orbit (GEO)*.

* With Peltier activation.

Catégorie : Space optronics

Our star tracker for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission has been delivered to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The star tracker, one of the most challenging ever designed by Sodern, will be critical to determine the spacecraft’s orientation while traveling from Earth to Jupiter.

“It gave me goose bumps to be a few feet away from the star tracker and think about its role in ensuring the success of this daring mission.” “The moment I saw it, I realized even more that our spacecraft is becoming a reality”

Discover it:

Sodern is always proud to contribute to NASA’s and ESA’s missions to help mankind learn more about our solar system.

Next stop : Jupiter !

(c) NASA

Catégorie : Space optronics

In late 90’s, Sodern developed an Autonomous star tracker line based on a 1k x 1k CCD: the SED16, 26, & 36 family. The flight qualification of the SED16 was achieved on the SPOT5 satellite in May 2002. More than 200 SEDx6 units have been launched and have accumulated more than 12,750,000 operating hours by the end of 2021.

With the last units to be delivered in 2022 and 2023, we will reach a total number of 292 star trackers.

GEO: 96 SEDx6’s in flight.
LEO: 101 SEDx6’s in flight.


Some notable missions flying a SEDx6 star tracker include the following:

  • Earth observation missions

SPOT5: A French civil Earth observation satellite for remote detection
Pleiades: A constellation of 4 Earth observation satellites manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space for high resolution, commercial imagery.

  • Transport missions

Cygnus: Manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the Cygnus also services the international space station.

  • Deep space

Earth’s Moon: Japan’s “Selene”: 1st lunar mission for Sodern
Venus: Japan’s « Planet C » mission
Ceres: NASA Dawn mission