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Key Milestones

60’s

First neutron-triggering sources for the French deterrent power
 

70’s

The first French-German satellite, which inaugurated European space cooperation, SODERN is on board the experimental satellite Symphonie.
 

80’s :

- First European space device with integrated microprocessors (EXOSAT satellite SED 03 star trackers)
- Europe’s first operational CDD star tracker (French-Russian satellite GRANAT)
 

90’s :

First demonstrator of a neutron interrogation explosives detection system (tested at the Los Angeles Airport)
 

2000’s :

- First cement works analyzer using a controlled emission neutron generator
- First worldwide launch of a star tracker on board a commercial telecommunication geostationary satellite
- First automated docking in the history of space: Two Sodern sensors (“Vidéomètre”) guide the cargo ATV Jules Verne to the International Space Station
 

Nowadays and … future

Neutron activities

- Sodern develops on neutron interrogation systems dedicated to new applications such as detection of explosives or illicit materials.
- ULIS is a man portable system that specializes in detecting explosives or illicit materials which could be hidden in suspect luggage.
- NIPPS was designed as a non-intrusive and transportable system dedicated to the detection and identification of toxic chemicals.

Space activities

- Launch of the new attitude measurement generation HYDRA, a multiple head star tracker based on APS (CMOS) detector technology.

- CSO project: Sodern supplies key elements (focal plane, electronic systems, etc.) of the future CSO military observation satellites, successors of the HELIOS satellites.

Scientific programs

Among others, two current emblematic programs can be mentioned :
- Pharao, a cold-atom atomic clock which will be carried on the International Space Station and attached outside the Columbus module designed by EADS Astrium, scheduled for 2014. This clock operating on the principle of laser cooling of atoms would then be able measure time with unprecedented accuracy, stability and precision.
- Laser Megajoule:
SODERN is contributing to the Laser Megajoule (LMJ) program of the French CEA by supplying the large Pockels cells of the 240 laser beams in the LMJ; these plasma-electrode Pockels cells form the electro-optical shutter of the amplifier for each laser. Each Pockels cell includes a large KDP crystal protected by windows (40 cm x 40 cm), high voltage power supplies (plasma generation and KDP polarization) and a command unit.

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