Miniature Spinning Sun Sensor 

Spacecraft Sun Sensors for
Attitude and
Guidance Control


Field of View:         87.5° from nominal to spin axis

Accuracy:              ±0.25

LSB Size:                0.125

Input Power:          +12 V to +15 V (power                                                consumption less than 0.5 W)

Output Power:       Parallel 11 data bits plus sun

                               crossing pulse output

Weight:                 0.55 lb (0.25 kg) max

Size:                       2.26″ x 2.03″ x 2″

                              (57 x 51.5 x 51 mm) 

                                   exclusive of connector and mounting pads

Configuration Features :

Fully integrated unit with optical heads and electronics processing circuitry.

Spinning Sun Sensor (±64°)

The Adcole Miniature Spinning Sun Sensor is designed for use on small spinning satellites. This sensor has flown on the ST5 and Themis satellite clusters, and the NASA MMS program.

The ±64° Adcole Sun Sensor provides better accuracy and resolution than the Miniature Spinning Sun Sensor. It is a redundant system consisting of one optical head per redundant electronics channel. It is used for attitude determination of spinning spacecraft, sun acquisition, and fail-safe recovery.

Field of View:         128° Fan-shaped (each sensor)

Accuracy:              Sun Pulse:

                                ±0.1° at 0°

                                ±0.3° at 40°

                                ±0.6° at 64°

                               Aspect Angle:

                                ±0.1°  0° to 40°

                                ±0.25° 40° to 64°

                                ±0.6° at 64°

LSB Size:                Coarse Angle 1°

                               Fine Angle 0.005° to 0.015°

Input Power:          28 ± 7 Vdc

                               (other ranges available)

                                   Typical power dissipation <0.4 W

Output:                  Sun Pulse (one per revolution)
                              Parallel Coarse Data and                                          Analog Fine Data

Weight:                  Sensor 0.24 lb (109g) 

                               Electronics 1.05 lb to 1.6 lb                                   (477g to 726 g)

Size (exclusive of connector) 

                            Sensor 2.6” x 1.3” x 1.0”

                            (66 x 33 x 25 mm)

                            Electronics 2.0” x 3.2” x 3.5”                                    (51 x 82 x 89 mm)

Adcole Spinning Sun Sensors are uniquely designed to provide sun aspect angle and sun crossing pulses for spinning spacecraft. This information is used to determine spin rate and spin axis orientation relative to the sun.

High Accuracy Fine Sun Sensors

Sun Sensors for Attitude Determination & Control

Spinning Sun Sensors

CubeSats and Small Satellites customized to mission requirements.
Adcole Maryland Aerospace
specializes in end-to-end small satellites and CubeSats that combine the flight heritage of our high reliability, radiation hardened space systems with New Space innovations. The result is more affordable, risk minimized spacecraft.

Technical Questions:

Reliability that's universal
Proven space hardware with decades of space flight heritage
Reliability that's universal

Contact Us:

Established in 1957, Adcole has been at the technological forefront of space exploration since the dawn of the space age. Renowned for their accuracy and ability to perform under extreme conditions, Adcole Sun Sensors have flown on nearly every major space mission and have been relied on by most LEO and GEO satellites for attitude and guidance control. 

Maryland Location:

2145 Priest Bridge Dr, Ste15
Crofton, MD 21114

Telephone: (410) 451-2505
Fax: (410) 451-2507

Massachusetts Location:

669 Forest Street
Marlborough, MA 01752

Telephone: (508) 485-9100
Fax: (508) 481-6142

Start your mission:

Adcole - Established 1957: From the dawn of the space age to the forefront of the New Space Revolution. 

Heritage and mission History 

Reliable, affordable SmallSats, CubeSats , ADACS and New Space components.