The American space agency’s New Horizons probe remains on course for its daring flyby of Ultima Thule between 29 December 2018 and 4 January 2019.
When the mission sweeps past the 30km wide object on New Year’s Day, it will be making the most distant ever visit to a Solar System body – at some 6.5 billion km from Earth.
Teledyne e2v has provided New Horizons with two specialist image sensors. The Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) is a black and white telescopic camera that has a 1k x 1k pixel image sensor at its core, CCD47-20. The other sensor, CCD96, powers Ralph – a 5k wide multi-colour scanning imager. New Horizons travels at 33,000 miles per hour, and the Kuiper Belt objects do not reflect a lot of light; therefore, the image sensors have been designed to be extremely sensitive and to work perfectly during its short flybys.