Heinrich Hertz mission launched with star sensors “Made in Jena” on board

Two of Jena-Optronik’s ASTRO APS star sensors enable the attitude and orbit control of the German geostationary communication satellite, which was developed and built by OHB System AG.


The Heinrich Hertz satellite mission has successfully started its flight into space on July 06, 2023. The launch was also the last journey of an Ariane 5 rocket, which has reliably launched satellites and spacecraft into space for more than 20 years.


The Heinrich Hertz mission is managed by the German Space Agency at DLR on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and with the participation of the German Federal Ministry of Defence.


The satellite is based on OHB’s SmallGEO platform. Designed for an operating life of 15 years and with an overall mass of 3450 kg, the mission will ensure information transmission via satellite. Moreover, ten technology demonstrators are on board in order to carry out a variety of scientific and technical communication experiments.


With the Jena-Optronik ASTRO APS star sensor, a flight-proven success product takes over the attitude determination of the satellite. Since its maiden flight on the European communication satellite Alphasat in 2013 more than 450 of these sensors have been sold to customers worldwide.


OHB relies on products made in Jena since the Bremen based space company trusts in ASTRO APS star sensors for its SmallGEO platform. Beside Heinrich Hertz, the sensor is for example also on board the OHB satellites EDRS-C and Electra. Flight models with serial numbers 271 and 272 of the ASTRO APS star sensor are on board of Heinrich Hertz.


Sabine Ludwig – who is part of Jena-Optronik‘s #teamspace – is the star sensor project manager for all these missions, she explains: “ASTRO APS is a success – small, light and highly reliable. Various configurations enable us to respond flexibly to customer requirements.”


The best thing about her work as a project manager: “Develop, manufacture and test a product together with the team. The enthusiasm for the missions that our sensors are flying on motivates us from the start in each and every project”, summarizes Ludwig.

Picture: © DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Jena-Optronik's #teamspace: project manager Sabine Ludwig as well as colleagues from integration and test in the company's cleanroom

Pictures: © Jena-Optronik GmbH

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