Development completed for the Super Hi-Vision Camera flight model, that will be onboard MMX!

One of the 13 instruments that will be carried by the Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) spacecraft is the “Super Hi-Vision Camera” (SHV). The SHV is part of the “exploration technology acquisition” instrument suite, with the purpose of capturing the highest definition images ever taken of the Martian sphere and the moons.

The two cameras that form the SHV can take images with up to 4K and 8K resolution. As broadcast contents, the high level of detail in the photographs captured by the SHV will be used to raise public awareness and share the progress of the mission, and also assist in the operation of the spacecraft, with the goal of improving operability for space exploration. We hope to acquire images of Mars gradually approaching as the MMX spacecraft approaches its destination, Mars at the closest approach by MMX, and images of the surface of the moon, Phobos.

The camera was developed in collaboration with the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), who developed the basic design for the camera in 2018, before officially announcing their participation in the MMX Project in September 2020 (※). Prototyping and a detailed design for a test model were then developed in collaboration with the development manufacturer. This was followed by the manufacturing of the Proto-Flight Model (PFM), and the conducting of standalone (not connected to the spacecraft) environmental tests that allowed the completion of the Post Qualification test Review (PQR) and Pre-Ship Review (PSR) in January 2024 that officially complete development. The flight-ready camera was then transported to where the spacecraft is being constructed at the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Kamakura Works in February 2024, and the handover was completed!

From here, the SHV will be integrated into the spacecraft’s return module and system integration test will be performed of the spacecraft system.

The Super Hi-Vision Camera (SHV) that will capture 4K and 8K image of the Mars system has been officially handed over for integration on the spacecraft.
Figure: Configuration diagram for the MMX instruments. SHV can be seen in the “From -Z” and “From -X” angle images.

SHV Principal Investigator (PI) Funatsu Ryohei
Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Engineering Administration Department

We faced numerous difficult challenges during the development process, but thanks to the effort of the SHV team members and the collaboration with JAXA, and the other manufacturers involved, we were able to successfully complete the development of the camera. We will now concentrate on the system integration tests for the spacecraft system.

Tanaka Hiroyuki
Meisei Electric Co., Ltd.

Although there were technical issues such as modifications to the equipment configuration to ensure the field of view once that the camera is mounted onto the spacecraft, mechanical and structural measures to reduce the mechanical load, exterior design adjustments to prevent the camera from exceeding its required temperature range, and the electric and electromagnetic improvements to transmit high quality images, as well as changes to the development method to ensure we stayed on schedule, I am very pleased that the handover was completed successfully.

More information:

(※) 8K Camera on the Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) Spacecraft to Take Ultra High Definition Images of Mars

NHK press release (in Japanese): 火星衛星探査計画(MMX)の探査機に搭載する スーパーハイビジョンカメラが完成