Printable Version of Topic

Click here to view this topic in its original format

Unmanned _ Chit Chat _ question about camera orientations on spacecraft

Posted by: ncc1701d Apr 6 2017, 06:35 PM

when spacecraft orbit the planets and take photos or take sensor readings do the cameras or sensors ever move or rotate independantly of the rotation of the spacecraft?
or is the whole spacecraft always rotated/oriented for the best shots because the cameras and sensors are always mounted firmly to spacecraft with no independant rotational capablities?

Posted by: Explorer1 Apr 6 2017, 08:36 PM

Some older missions (Voyagers 1 and 2, Galileo) had scan platforms with isntruments mounted on them that 'aimed' at the object, but the mechanical complexity of them led to a gradual phasing out. Cassini, New Horizons, etc turn the whole spacecraft to aim instruments. Some like Juno spin constantly, with instruments pointing outward and sweeping across the target to get their measurements.

More info in this thread from a decade (!) ago:

Posted by: djellison Apr 6 2017, 09:47 PM

Further to that - there are some special cases. CRISM on MRO has a single axis gimbal, as does CaSSIS on ExoMars

Posted by: tasp Apr 6 2017, 11:13 PM

Galileo had a scan platform and spun and despun sections of the craft. Really interesting and challenging from an engineering stand point.

Posted by: ncc1701d Apr 7 2017, 06:31 AM

thanks everyone!

Posted by: nprev Apr 7 2017, 07:05 AM

Many thanks to the members who very kindly answered this question.

I would like to remind everyone, and especially new members/infrequent posters, to review the Rules and Guidelines (on the top left section of the menu bar), especially rule 2.3, before starting a thread to ask a question. The odds are very good that the answer is already somewhere on the Forum--as Explorer1 showed--or can be found via Google or other search engines.

This thread is now closed.

Powered by Invision Power Board (
© Invision Power Services (