Redwire's Critical Navigation Technology to Support NASA’s Dragonfly Mission

Redwire's Critical Navigation Technology to Support NASA’s Dragonfly Mission

Redwire sun sensor technology is continuing to advance science and discovery onboard planetary missions to deepen humanity’s understanding of our solar system. Through a contract from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Redwire will supply critical navigation technology for NASA’s groundbreaking Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. The Digital Sun Sensor system onboard Dragonfly will enable the spacecraft, slated to launch no earlier than 2027, to travel roughly 3.6 billion miles to Titan, where it will sample and examine dozens of sites to advance humanity’s search for the building blocks of life.

The Digital Sun Sensor system, consisting of two Digital Sun Sensor heads and their related electronics, will provide sun angle information to the Dragonfly spacecraft’s guidance and control computer as it traverses from Earth to Titan. Since Titan is about 886 million miles from the Sun, getting accurate sun angle data during the flight will require the advanced capabilities of the sun sensor. The Digital Sun Sensor has three separate gain settings that give it enough dynamic range to determine the sun angle from launch until the spacecraft arrives at Titan.

The Dragonfly mission has the potential to shed light on the chemistry behind the development of complex organic matter needed for life and expand humanity’s knowledge of life in our solar system. This will be the first time NASA will fly this kind of vehicle in the atmosphere of another world.  The autonomous octocopter rotorcraft will study multiple locations on Titan to sample surface material and investigate compositions and the chemistry at work there, which may produce some of the chemical building blocks of life. Having detailed data on the chemistry of Titan will also tell us more about the kinds of processes that occurred on Earth billions of years ago and could provide valuable insight into the possibility of life on other planetary bodies.

Redwire’s Digital Sun Sensor has enabled a variety of missions and spacecraft, including multiple missions to Mars such as Mars Pathfinder, Mars Exploration Rovers A and B, Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, and Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. Redwire’s suite of sensors has also flown on the IRIS mission, Parker Solar Probe, STEREO, the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn, New Horizons to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, MESSENGER to Mercury, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, NASA’s Artemis I mission, and many other game-changing missions.

Click here to view other Sun Sensors from Redwire Space listed on SATNow.

Publisher: SatNow
Tags:-  Sun SensorsLaunchSensorsGround

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013