CCD linear arrays contribute to observation of red planet

MARCH 1--Atmel Corporation (Grenoble, France; has announced its contribution to the Mars Express mission's success.

Mar 1st, 2004

MARCH 1--Atmel Corporation (Grenoble, France; has announced its contribution to the Mars Express mission's success. The satellite, currently in Mars' orbit, has, among several other missions, the task of performing the planet's mapping. This part of the mission is executed by nine of Atmel's TH7808 CCD linear arrays integrated into the high-resolution stereo camera based on a pushbroom scanning method developed by the German Aerospace Center. These arrays feature 5184 pixels with a 13-μm pitch, extended dynamic range, and low noise threshold. The TH7808s provide a ground resolution of 10 m with a 2-m resolution zoom capacity, enabling picture-perfect images that are of major interest to the scientific community.

During a 25-year involvement in space imaging projects, Atmel has developed many linear and multilinear arrays, time-delay-integration (TDI) CCDs, and multi-TDIs for high-resolution observation of the Earth and other planets, in either panchromatic or multispectral wavelength ranges. The company has also developed rad-tolerant area arrays for star sensors and contributed to many scientific missions by up-screening image sensors from its standard product list.

"It is thanks to our cooperation with the CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales--the French space agency) on the European Earth Observation Satellite (SPOT series), as well as the availability of a high-resolution linear array, that Atmel's CCDs were selected for the mission," says Jean-Philippe Lamarcq, professional imaging director. Atmel will continue to serve space-related projects by offering image sensors with state-of-the-art performance, high reliability, and long-term availability, in close co-operation with the company's worldwide customers.

Founded in 1984, Atmel Corporation is headquartered in San Jose, CA, with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures, and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory, and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions using CMOS, BiCMOS, SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies.

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