The route of a space solar sensor, from its conception until it goes into orbit

At Solar MEMS we make all kinds of solar sensors, but the type which is best known internationally are our nano solar sensors for satellites. In this article, we want to show you the life cycle of these high-tech products from the time they are conceived until they go into orbit as part of a space satellite

The work of our engineers is highly creative, because the first step in making any sensor, whether solar or any other type, is the ability to imagine it, taking the demands of both the client and the specific project into account.

Once we have analysed the case, the project and the client’s specifications, our engineers will set about designing the device.

We then need to search for the best suppliers for the components that are required to make them, because we do not make all of the components here at the facilities of Solar MEMS. We place the order with the best companies to ensure the highest standards of quality and the best possible price, because it is important to control the costs of these projects for our clients.

In an interview, Isaac Fernández, our company’s Production Manager, explained that “the production line starts with the manufacture of the internal sensor, which calls for complex alignment procedures to guarantee the utmost precision in the final device”

Then, “we run some tests on the internal sensor that simulate space conditions. The next step involves soldering all the electronic parts, which are then assembled and finally calibrated in a solar simulator, which subjects the sensor to different angles so that we can obtain the final precision adjustments”, explains Fernández.

The whole process takes place in one of the clean rooms that we have in our Solar MEMS facilities, which have an atmosphere in which the temperature, humidity and air particles are all under control.

As regards the manufacture of our space solar sensors, such as the NanoSSOC, the ACSS and SSOC take around two weeks from the time when we have the parts required in our hands, so to a certain extent, this depends on the suppliers.

The time required can also be longer when the projects are customized orders in which each device must be prepared to the client’s final specifications and have to be perfectly aligned with all these requirements and conditions.

Once the sensor is finished and extensively tested, it is normally sent to the client, who will install it in a satellite which is then sent into orbit.

At Solar MEMS, we work with the most important agencies and companies, such as NASA, ESA and Airbus OneWeb Satellites, and they have all tried and tested the immaculate quality and cutting-edge technology of our company’s solar sensors, which is why they continue to rely on us.