Multi-purpose camera with radiation hard design

Jena-Optronik’s ASTROhead is a compact and light-weight space camera for demanding environments. Typical applications are:

  • Navigation
  • Inspection
  • Orientation
  • Space situational awareness

Our heritage from the successful ASTRO star sensor series led to the development of the ASTROhead. This is the first space application of the innovative FainStar sensor. Its use enabled us to set new standards for radiation hard designed space cameras in terms of both low mass and small envelope.

The ability of Jena-Optronik to design a space camera from the very first sketch to full qualification in less than two years has been demonstrated with this product. The maiden flight of the Visible Sensor Suite (VSS); which is based on the ATROhead, was on board of Northrop Grumman‘s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) launched on October 10th, 2019. The successful docking - a premiere in space - was achieved on February 25th, 2020.

View of IS-901 satellite from Mission Extension Vehicle-1 © Northrop Grumman

The VSS incorporates two ASTROhead camera versions with different fields of view as well as a common electronic control unit (Optical Head Controller Box). If needed this unit processes the data of up to six cameras complementing the ASTROhead to a complete navigational camera system., ASTROhead can be adapted to meet different customer requirements thanks to the modular design Approach.

Spaceship Orion with sensors from Jena on its way to the Moon

As part of the NASA mission Artemis I, the spaceship Orion was successfully launched into space on November 16th 2022  and is headed to orbit the Moon. It is equipped with two star sensors from the successful Thuringian space company Jena-Optronik GmbH. Starting with follow-up mission Artemis III, the Jena-based company will also supply two additional rendezvous and docking sensors per mission.

read more

Premiere in space

On October 5, 2022 a new generation of Jena sensors was launched into space on C-band communication satellites built by the Boeing Company.

read more

All News-Articles


As we are turning 30 years, we a delighted to give you insights on our history as well as future missions with space technology made by Jena-Optronik.

read more

Space optics: Our contributions to Sentinel-4

The ESA Sentinel-4 mission is part of the European Commission Copernicus Programme for monitoring the Earth. We develop and build the core main optics of the Sentinel-4/Ultra-violet/Visible/Near- Infrared (UVN) instrument, which comprises a telescope, a UV-VIS spectrometer and a NIR spectrometer.

read more

All Blog-Articles

Space photography

Apollo astronauts as photographers: stunning pictures of our blue marble, the moon and astronauts' lifes 

read more

Space: It’s all around us

Space inspires us all and creates a wealth of knowledge

read more

All Knowledgeplatform-Articles


  • Februar 7-9, 2023
    SmallSat Symposium, Mountain View, USA
  • Februar 3-8, 2023
    AAS Guidance & Control Conference, Breckenridge, USA
  • November 15-17, 2022
    Space Tech Expo, Bremen, Germany