Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Kodak Sensor on Way to Jupiter

Business Week: NASA’s Juno spacecraft to be launched on Aug. 5 to begin its five-year voyage to the planet Jupiter has 2MP Kodak CCD on board to capture images of the gas giant. The KODAK KAI-2020 CCD was selected by Malin Space Science Systems to serve as the “eye” of JunoCam, an instrument that will provide full color images of Jupiter as the spacecraft orbits the planet.

"JunoCam is the eleventh time we have selected a Kodak CCD for a spaceflight imaging system," said Michael Ravine, Advanced Projects Manager, Malin Space Science Systems. "Being able to draw from the many options available in Kodak's commercial image sensor line has allowed us to tune the performance of each camera to each mission's specific needs. And our previous cameras that use Kodak sensors have logged more than 10 years of deep space operations, clearly demonstrating their reliability for space applications."

KODAK CCDs will also be involved in two upcoming space missions currently scheduled to launch this November. Malin Space Science Systems selected the KODAK KAI-2020 sensor for use in four separate camera systems of the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, including the MastCam, the science imaging “workhorse” of the rover. Scheduled to arrive at Mars in August 2012, Curiosity will help assess whether the red planet was (or still is today) an environment able to support microbial life. In addition, the Russian spacecraft Phobos-Grunt will use KODAK KAI-1020 Image Sensors for navigation and landing site selection on its mission to land on the Mars moon Phobos, collect samples, and return them back to Earth. Phobos-Grunt is scheduled to land on Phobos in early 2013, arriving back on Earth in August 2014.

Kodak KAI-2020 CCD

Thanks to MD for sending me the info!


  1. In the 1990's I worked hard to get the Kodak CCDs inserted into JPL instruments. But, they were too new compared to the CCDs JPL had been making and flying. Now that Kodak is sort of a dinosaur image sensor company, I guess their CCDs have enough legacy to be flown regularly.

    It is no surprise that once a CCD camera has been designed and flown that the same camera engineers and science customers prefer to just make the same thing over and over again. It is low risk for the science mission, job security for the camera engineers, and generally good for tax payers.

    On the other hand, it is ironic, and perhaps moronic, that the CMOS image sensor technology NASA helped develop to solve the problems with CCDs and miniaturize cameras is still "too new" to be used despite comparable imaging performance and far superior system performance.

  2. Kodak is not an image sensor company...and by the way their image sensor division is for sale.

  3. The merits are still there and nobody, no matter what they say, can take them away! The people that build these sensors and cameras should be proud of their achievements and deserve the credit.

  4. Each time has his own hero.

  5. I think Eric is right about the low-risk attitude at the decision maker's level. No one in NASA wants to be sitting in front of a congressional panel explaining why they ruined a many-million-dollar mission by taking a risk on a new supplier/technology.

  6. Maybe Kodak sensors next will be on Uranus...

  7. But kodak cannotsurvivewithsuchsporadic mission!


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