Space Micro To Provide Space Qualified Cameras To Intuitive Machines For 2021 Moon Landing
San Diego, CA – August 3, 2020
Space Micro announced the delivery of a software development unit (SDU) version of their SpaceCam(tm) 5MP to Intuitive Machines of Houston, TX, who will use this SDU in a series of terrestrial tests intended to help land Intuitive Machine's Nova-C Lunar Lander on the Moon's surface.
Space Micro will deliver SpaceCam(tm) 5MP flight units later this year for integration into Nova-C's Precision Landing and Hazard Avoidance (PLHA) landing system, created by Intuitive Machines, which will pave the way for NASA astronauts to land on the lunar surface by 2024.
Space Micro's SpaceCam(tm) 5MP space camera is based on a low read noise scientific CMOS (sCMOS) sensor, which allows the camera to detect smaller contrast differences in dim lighting. Space Micro has recently qualified this imager through a series of environmental tests including exposure to radiation beams. The camera's integrated central processor provides users with agility and reconfigurability with dual ARM Cortex-A9 cores and over 400,000 FPGA gates. The SpaceCam 5MP's main data interface is SpaceWire with options such as Camera Link also available. The flexible design allows users to either use one of Space Micro's standard or customized radiation hard and thermally stable lens assemblies or install their own optics.
Intuitive Machine's Nova-C Lunar Lander will deliver commercial cargo and six NASA-provided payloads to an area in Oceanus Procellarum near Vallis Schröteri, which is the largest valley on the Moon (comparable in size to the Grand Canyon). These payloads will conduct scientific research and technology demonstrations as part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, in preparation for sending astronauts back to the Moon in 2024. Nova-C is scheduled to launch on October 11, 2021 via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA Kennedy Space Center.
"We are thrilled to have our highly-reliable satellite camera be a part of this history-making mission as Intuitive Machines becomes the first private company to entirely develop a lunar lander to deliver cargo to the lunar surface.," said David Strobel, CEO of Space Micro.
Intuitive Machines Vice President, Trent Martin, commented, "Our custom designed and state of the art Precision Landing and Hazard Avoidance system relies on Space Micro Cameras to provide precision optical navigation for the descent and landing phase of all of our lunar missions. We are excited to test this technology on Earth and fly it to the Moon next year."