Starberry-Sense: Indian Institute of Astrophysics researchers develop low-cost star sensor

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Source: The post is based on the article “Indian Institute of Astrophysics researchers develop low-cost star sensor” published in The Hindu on 17th March 2023

What is the News?

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have developed a low-cost star sensor called Starberry-Sense.

What is a Starberry-Sense?

Starberry-Sense is a low-cost star sensor that can help small CubeSat class satellite missions find their orientation in space.

The brain of the instrument is a single-board Linux computer called Raspberry Pi, which is widely used among electronics hobby enthusiasts.

Significance: Based on commercial/off-the-shelf components, this star sensor costs less than 10% of those available in the market.

What is a Star Sensor?

Any satellite needs to know where it is pointed in space and the instrument used for this purpose is called a star sensor. 

The position of stars in the sky is fixed relative to each other and can be used as a stable reference frame to calculate the orientation of a satellite in orbit. This is done by correctly identifying the stars in the sky towards which the star sensor is pointed. 

Hence, the star sensor is essentially a celestial compass.

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