A three-line stereo camera concept for planetary exploration

Rainer Sandau*, Stefan Hilbert, Holger Venus, Ingo Walter, Wai-Chi Fang, Leon Alkalai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a low-weight stereo camera concept for planetary exploration. The camera uses three CCD lines within the image plane of one single objective. Some of the main features of the camera include: focal length 90 mm, FOV 18.5 deg, IFOV 78 μrad, convergence angles ± 10 deg, radiometric dynamics 14 bit, weight 2 kg, power consumption 12.5 Watts. From an orbit altitude of 250 km the ground pixel size is 20m × 20m and the swath width is 82 km. The CCD line data is buffered in the camera internal mass memory of 1 Gbit. After performing radiometric correction and application-dependent preprocessing the data is compressed and ready for downlink. Due to the aggressive application of advanced technologies in the area of microelectronics and innovative optics, the low mass and power budgets of 2 kg and 12.5 Watts is achieved, while still maintaining high performance. The design of the proposed light-weight camera is also general purpose enough to be applicable to other planetary missions such as the exploration of Mars, Mercury, and the Moon. Moreover, it is an example of excellent international collaboration on advanced technology concepts developed at DLR, Germany, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalD L R - Forschungsberichte
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


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