Space EO/IR Sensors

A Legacy of More Than 30 Years as a Provider of Space Sensor Solutions

Leonardo DRS has been an innovator of space sensing technology for decades, with a focus on focal plane arrays and payloads. Our sensors take high quality images of galaxies and planets that are light years away as well as tracking CO2 levels here on our own planet. The images from our sensors on the Hubble telescope are still making headlines today and our weather tracking technology is revolutionizing how we predict weather.

Our space sensors are designed and manufactured in Cypress, California. The 95,000 sq. ft. facility includes a low-rate initial production area where we conceptualize, develop, produce, and sustain sensors and systems for visible, infrared, far-infrared and hyperspectral applications.

Space Mission Experience

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R)

Leonardo DRS continues to leverage our Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) technology to better monitor earth’s weather. For GOES-R, we developed and delivered a set of three sensor modules containing 16 spectral channels ranging from visible- to long-wave infrared (LWIR) for the Advanced Baseline Imager.


Leonardo DRS provided sensors for both the Himawari-8 and Himawari-9 weather satellites. These sensors, 32 in each satellite, are part of the improved imaging instruments on board. They operate in spectral ranges from visible band 470nm to LWIR 13.3um band infrared, giving the systems the ability to make observations with greater frequency and in more spectral bands than the satellites they were designed to replace.

Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP)

For the Suomi NPP satellite, Leonardo DRS fabricated and delivered a set of three sensor modules that cover the short-wave infrared (SWIR) to LWIR spectral range for the CrIS instrument. Suomi NPP orbits the Earth about 14 times each day and observes nearly the entire surface. The Suomi NPP satellite continues key data records that are critical for climate change science.

The Cross Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)

Our role for JPSS was to fabricate and deliver a set of three sensor modules that cover the SWIR to LWIR spectral range for the CrIS instrument.

Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite-2 (GOSAT-2)

Leonardo DRS developed and delivered a detector suite comprised of visible and infrared detectors for GOSAT-2.  The detector suite spans the full spectrum from 410nm to 15µm. It includes visible PIN detectors, mercury cadmium telluride (MCT)  photodiode detectors and MCT photo conductor detectors. The GOSAT-2 Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite will contribute to Proactive Diplomatic Strategy for Countering Global Warming as announced at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2019.

Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)

We provided all four channel focal plane assemblies.  The success and continued performance of WISE has led to funding for its use in NEOWISE.

Hubble Space Telescope

Leonardo DRS supported the Hubble mission by providing mid-wave infrared (MWIR) focal plane arrays for the NICMOS instrument.

Spitzer Space Telescope

Leonardo DRS provided the arsenic doped and antimony doped focal plane arrays for the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS) and Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (IRS) instruments.

Space Sensing Products & Services