Join Donate

Emily LakdawallaJune 15, 2010

IKAROS' deployable camera captures perfect sail photos and animation!

EDIT 10:35 PM: Animation added at the bottom of this post.

I've been watching and waiting for these photos for days! We've already seen IKAROS' view of its deployed sails from cameras attached to the spacecraft, but, in a brilliant idea, the Japanese built IKAROS with two deployable cameras that could view the thing from a distance. They're two tiny little things, I think only about 5 centimeters across, that just get shot out (gently) from the spacecraft and wirelessly transmit their photos to it. And such photos! So cool!

First, a closeup:

IKAROS spacecraft from DCAM2


IKAROS spacecraft from DCAM2
DCAM2 is a tiny camera deployed by IKAROS to photograph its sail after deployment; it captured this view after sail deployment was complete, transmitting the images wirelessly to the spacecraft.

And here's the money shot, the distant view -- so square, exactly as it should be! Awesome.

IKAROS sail from DCAM2


IKAROS sail from DCAM2
One of the deployable cameras on IKAROS shows the IKAROS solar sail fully deployed.

Here's a diagram showing where the cameras were positioned on the spacecraft, and a closeup of the tiny things. In the first picture I posted above, you can see the hole on the spacecraft where the camera came from.

Location of DCAM1 and DCAM2 on IKAROS


Location of DCAM1 and DCAM2 on IKAROS

So cool! That's all the analysis I have time for -- it's the kids' bathtime -- but I'll write more tomorrow.

EDIT: One more thing to add before going to bed: an animation, taken by DCAM2 as it receded from the sail (from here). Again, so cool.

DCAM2's view of IKAROS


DCAM2's view of IKAROS
A 32-frame animation from the deployable camera DCAM2 on IKAROS. The camera rotated as it receded, producing the apparent spin of the sail.

Read more: IKAROS, pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, mission status, solar sailing, pics of hardware on earth

You are here:
Emily Lakdawalla 2017 headshot square serene
Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

Comments & Sharing
Bill Nye and people
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

The Planetary Fund

Help advance robotic and human space exploration, defend our planet, and search for life.


"We're changing the world. Are you in?"
- CEO Bill Nye

Sign Up for Email Updates