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Press Release No. 01-2017

Daejeon, Korea
Heilbronn, Germany
27 September 2017

Contract Award for Procurement of IR FPU for KOMPSAT-7

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Daejeon, Korea commissioned AIM Infrarot-Module GmbH (AIM) Heilbronn, Germany for the design, development, production, qualification, and test of the InfraRed Focal Plane Unit (IR FPU) for the Korean satellite mission KOMPSAT-7 (KOrean Multi Purpose SATellite). KOMPSAT-7 shall provide high-resolution satellite images for precision earth observation purposes in a polar low earth orbit as advanced follow-up model of KOMPSAT-3A. The satellite is equipped with a world-class optical imaging capability and a high-resolution infrared sensor which allows for heat signature observation like fire, volcanic activity and urban thermal islands during day and night and under any weather condition. The launch of the KOMPSAT-7 satellite is scheduled for 2021.

AIM is pleased to contribute the high performance InfraRed Focal Plane Unit for the InfraRed Module (IRM) for KOMPSAT-7 under contract of KARI. The IR FPU design is based on the well-proven design of the KOMPSAT-3A Infrared Sensor System (KISS). The infrared detector is built as a high performance MCT-detector line which scans the earth in the wavelength range of 3-5 μm as a high resolution push broom imager. For best signal to noise ratio, a Time Delay and Integration mode (TDI) is utilized. A specific Readout Integrated Circuit (ROIC) for signal integration and multiplexing is hybridised with the MCT-sensor chip using the approved AIM flip-chip-technology, forming a sophisticated detector hybrid. A thermally isolated dewar assembly houses the detector hybrid in order to operate the device at cryogenic temperatures which are necessary to attain the required high detector sensitivity. The low operating temperature is realised by an AIM cooling system that employs a pulse tube cooler driven by a flexure bearing compressor which are both specially designed in order to guarantee a long life time of at least 5 years in orbit.

AIM will supply the InfraRed Focal Plane Unit that consist of the so-called Integrated Detector Dewar Cooler Assembly (IDDCA) along with the corresponding space qualified frontend electronics for detector operation and the cooler drive electronics for operation and control of the cooling system.

Space activities at AIM have been built-up for several years based on 40 years of experience in development and production of MCT infrared detectors. Since 2005 AIM has been involved in many studies and technology developments performed under DLR and ESA contracts targeting future space missions. AIM has been selected to deliver mission specific highly reliable flight hardware for various national and international space programs. So far, AIM has delivered more than 25 Flight Models for different space programs.

Infrared detector modules built by AIM have successfully been launched into space on board the KOMPSAT-3A satellite in 2015 and the first Sentinel 3 satellite in 2016. The AIM cooling system used for the AIM infrared detector module inside the KOMPSAT-3A satellite is the first European pulse tube cooler ever used aboard a satellite.

Based on the successful design of the KOMPSAT-3A Infrared Sensor System (KISS) AIM will develop and manufacture the InfraRed Focal Plane Unit for KOMPSAT-7 with further advanced system performance.

AIM combines all core competencies in house, such as design and production of focal plane assemblies, detector housing or long-life cryocooler technologies and cooler drive electronics which provides flexibility to match challenging requirements and achieve economical solutions.