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Sensores solares para la industria espacial


Oferta Tecnológica
Una empresa española de base tecnológica especializada en sistemas micro electromecánicos (MEMS) ofrece sensores solares altamente precisos para la industria espacial. Estos sensores permiten un importante ahorro de costes y están especialmente indicados para el mercado actual de micro/nanosatélites. Los sensores se caracterizan por su tamaño, peso y consumo de energía mínimos y son la solución perfecta (AOCS - sistema de control orbital y actitud) para plataformas de nanosatélites. La empresa busca socios con el fin de establecer acuerdos de comercialización con asistencia técnica, licencia, I+D y financiación.


Sun sensors for the space industry
A Spanish technology-based company specialized in Micro Electro Mechanical Systems technology (MEMS) offers high accurate sun sensors for the space industry. These innovative sun sensors allow significant cost savings and are particularly suitable for the current micro/nanosatellite market. The company is looking for partners to reach commercial agreement with technical assistance, license, R-Y-D cooperation and/or financial agreements.
This technology-based company from Spain is specialized in Micro Electro Mechanical Systems technology (MEMS) and its application to the design and development of high accurate sun sensors for the space industry. The company was created in 2009 as a spin-off of the School of Engineering, University of Seville. During the last years the company has been established as one of the main sun sensor providers for Nanosats and Microsats in the space industry. Besides sun sensors the company also offers engineering and consulting services for custom space designs, including integration processes in nanosatellites, mission management and development of new technologies.

The strong trend to miniaturization during the last years has allowed significant cost savings in the nanosatellite market. Now the presence of the commercial sector in nanosatellite missions has significantly increased, providing much of the performance of a conventional satellite for a fraction of the cost. As the nanosatellite technology capabilities increase, their requirements do as well. New applications demands higher accurate in orbit detecting and positioning systems for which the sun is used as a reference to support other systems. This is where sun sensors play a fundamental role, and in many cases they are very expensive devices, with high volume and low accuracy. The size and the weight are key factors that determine the final cost of the launch and the mission. MEMS applied to the manufacture of sun sensors, which involves the development of electronic and optical devices on a very small scale, can reduce the size, weight and consumption of these devices.

The company commercializes four different sun sensor models, which are based on MEMS fabrication processes to achieve high integrated sensing structures. They have minimum size, weight and power consumption to be the perfect AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control System) solution for nanosatellite platforms.

These devices are two-axis, low cost sun sensors for high accurate sun-tracking and attitude determination. The devices measure the incident angle of a sun ray in both azimuth and elevation, providing a high sensitivity based on the geometrical dimensions of the design. The sun sensor uses four silicon photodiodes monolithically integrated, including a transparent glass on the same silicon die to act as a shield to prevent space radiation damage. The device fabrication combines MEMS technology with a high efficiency solar cell fabrication process, leading to small area and low weight device. All materials used in the silicon sensor fabrication process are compatible with space requirements in terms of radiation, thermal and vibration resistance, and low degasification. The four available sun sensor models are listed below:

- SSOC-A60: High accurate analog sun sensor (Engineering and Flight models).
- SSOC-D60: High accurate digital sun sensor (Engineering and Flight models).
- nanoSSOC-A60: High accurate analog sun sensor miniaturized for nanosatellites (Engineering and Flight models).
- nanoSSOC-D60: High accurate digital sun sensor miniaturized for nanosatellites (Engineering and Flight models).

The applications of the sun sensors are summarized as follows:

- Low cost satellite attitude determination
- Accurate Sun position determination
- Satellite solar panel positioning
- Attitude Failure Alarm
- Satellite positioning in specific trajectory points
- Balloons and UAVs control.

Concerning cooperation agreements, the company offers:

- Commercial with technical assistance and license agreements, in order to increase its customer base and transfer its technology,
- R-Y-D cooperation agreements, in order to continuously improve its sun sensors and find new applications,
- Financial agreements, to improve the international diffusion of its technology and foster key partnerships within the space industry.
Advantages and Innovations:
The application of MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems technology) technology to the development of sun sensors provides remarkable benefits compared to other options in the market. The main competitive advantages are summarized as follows:

- High miniaturization and low weight.
- Very low power consumption.
- High reliability.
- High accuracy.
- High operation range and sensitivity.
- Easier integration in the satellite platform.
- Low cost.

These advantages allow SSOC (Sun Sensor on a Chip) sun sensors to be a suitable and affordable solution for the new pico and nanosatellites, especially Cubesats. These characteristics fulfil the recent requirements of the space industry, which tends to produce smaller satellites which require the use of high integrated systems with lower power consumption levels, but without losing the benefits of traditional macroscale devices. MEMS technology also allows the industrialization and provides a mass production approach, achieving reduced lead times.
Stage of Development:
Already on the market
Exclusive Rights,Other
CommeR Statunts Regarding IPR Status:
Sun sensor technology and associated patents have been fully transferred from University of Seville to the company by means of an exclusive exploitation agreement.

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
The company is looking for both private and public partners.

With regard to the private sector, the target partners are satellite platform developers and solar panel manufacturers that require sun sensors for a high accurate in-orbit positioning. The typology of these partners would include from space SMEs to multinational space companies as big contractors.

Regarding the public sector, space agencies, universities and research centers all over the world involved in nanosatellite projects may also be perfect partners.

The collaboration type preferred would be through commercial agreements with technical assistance, license agreements for technology transfer and R-Y-D cooperation agreements. Financial agreements with business angles and capital investors are also welcome to improve the diffusion of the company´s technology and foster key partnerships within the space industry.


Type and Size of Client:
Industry SME <= 10
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
06005002 Sensores y productos inalámbricos
02011004 Sistemas de navegación por satélite
02011 Tecnología aeroespacial
09001009 Tecnología de sensores relacionada con la realización de medidas