Press Release

Fairchild Imaging CCD on Cassini Captures Images of Titan in Close Flyby

By SpaceRef Editor
April 22, 2005
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Fairchild Imaging CCD on Cassini Captures Images of Titan in Close Flyby

Fairchild Imaging CCD sensors capture digital images of Saturn’s moon Titan. These ultra sensitive Charge Coupled Device (CCD) image sensors are the “eyes” of several instruments on the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini Huygens mission to study Saturn and its moons.

Milpitas, CA (PRWEB) April 22, 2005 — In its closest flyby yet, the Cassini spacecraft with its Fairchild Imaging CCD sensors has captured new digital images of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. As part of the ten-year Cassini Huygens mission to study Saturn and its moons, the spacecraft will continue to perform flybys on Titan and build up a full map of this distant moon. This is the sixth flyby of Titan and it occurred early on the morning of April 16th local time. Cassini passed within 1025 km (637 miles) of Titan at a speed of 6.1 km/s (14,000 mph). Fairchild Imaging CCD imagers – integral components of several of the spacecraft’s instruments – provided detailed imagery and data about the surface and atmosphere of this moon. Scientists at NASA and other international space agencies hope to gain a better understanding of Earth’s atmosphere by studying the similar characteristics of Titan.

The ultra sensitive Charge Coupled Device (CCD) image sensors are the “eyes” of the Cassini instruments. The Cassini orbiter and Huygens probe have four instruments that use Fairchild Imaging CCDs. The Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) on Cassini has two CCD imagers: one on the wide-angle camera and one on the narrow angle camera. These CCDs are 1024 x 1024 pixel full frame devices. The Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS), also on Cassini, has a 512 x 256 pixel frame transfer CCD. This same device is also in the Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer (DISR) on the Huygens probe which has actually landed on Titan.

Each CCD, which is often referred to as a Focal Plane Array (FPA), is a space qualified FPA. To be space qualified the FPA must have special packaging and testing to ensure that it will survive the harsh environs of space. In addition, these FPAs have been specially treated with lumogen to enhance their response to ultraviolet light. The CCDs on the VIMS and DISR also have integral spectral order sorting filters to provide color image data.

The Cassini Huygens mission is a joint effort of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) manages the mission for NASA. Additional information can be found at the JPL website,, or the ESA website,

About Fairchild Imaging

Fairchild Imaging is a manufacturer of CCD and CMOS image sensors and cameras for aerospace, industrial, medical and scientific imaging. Located in Milpitas, CA, Fairchild Imaging is a privately held corporation whose major investors include The Carlyle Group, BAE Systems, and management. Information about Fairchild Imaging is available on the worldwide Web at

Contact Information:

William H. Walker, Jr.
Fairchild Imaging
PH: 408-433-2500
FAX: 408-435-7352

SpaceRef staff editor.