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Researchers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have developed a low-cost star sensor for astronomy and small CubeSat class satellite missions.

About Starberry-Sense:

  • The star sensor Starberry-Sense can help small CubeSat class satellite missions find their orientation in space.
  • 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. 
  • Features of Starberry-Sense
    • The brain of the instrument is a single-board Linux computer called Raspberry Pi, which is widely used among electronics hobby enthusiasts.
    • Based on commercial/off-the-shelf components, this star sensor costs less than 10% of those available in the market.
    • It is ready for launch on the PS4-Orbital Platform by ISRO and can be used for CubeSats and other small satellite missions in the future.
    • The star sensor has successfully undergone the vibration and thermal vacuum test that qualifies it for a space launch and operations, and these tests were conducted in-house at the environmental test facility located at the CREST Campus of IIA in Hosakote.

What are CubeSats?

  • CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. 
  • CubeSats are built to standard dimensions (Units or “U”) of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm.
  • They typically weigh less than 1.33 kg (3 lbs) per U.


Q1) What is an orbit?

An orbit is a regular, repeating path that one object in space takes around another one. An object in an orbit is called a satellite. A satellite can be natural, like Earth or the moon.

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