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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.

    [Exploded view of Starberry-Sense star sensor]

    Image Courtesy: TH

    About Starberry-Sense

    • The star sensor named Starberry-Sense can help small CubeSat class satellite missions find their orientation in space.
    • the Starberry-Sense 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.
    • Features: Based on commercial/off-the-shelf components, this star sensor costs less than 10% of those available in the market. 
      • The brain of the instrument is a single-board Linux computer called Raspberry Pi, which is widely used among electronics hobby enthusiasts.
      • Researchers coupled some highly optimised algorithms with a Raspberry Pi and turned it into a potent star sensor, named StarBerry-Sense. 

    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. The star sensor is essentially a celestial compass.


    • Small spacecraft (SmallSats) focus on spacecraft with a mass of fewer than 180 kilograms and about the size of a large kitchen fridge.  
    • Even with small spacecraft, there is a large variety of sizes and masses that can be differentiated.


    • They are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. 
    • The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart, and weigh about 3 pounds
    • The development of CubeSats has advanced into its own industry with government, industry, and academia collaborating for ever-increasing capabilities.  
    • They now provide a cost-effective platform for science investigations, new technology demonstrations, and advanced mission concepts using constellations, and swarms disaggregated systems.
    • In recent years CubeSats and small satellite missions have gained huge popularity. These missions utilize commercially available components for their design and development,

    Source: TH