Andromede/LSO Mission facts and figures

Andromede Mission

  • CNES Mission Andromede onboard the International Space Station
  • Launch: 21 October 2001

Experiment LSO (Lightening and Sprites Observation)

  • Experiment of CEA
  • Support from CNES
  • Goal: observation of sprites from space, using a spectral differentiation method thanks to adapted filters, using automatic experiments for images acquisition over thunderstroms
  • Astronaut: Claudie Haigneré

LSO on board the ISS

Complete imaging system (2 micro-cameras, mechanics with filter holding, high-speed interface, power supply to the ISS, semi-automatic software).

In order to prepare a future mission for sprites observations of storms based on lightweight camera units, the French Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA), with the support of CNES, has charged Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration to manufacture two micro-cameras with support equipment and software to be on-board the International Space Station (ISS), in the frame of the French-Russian Andromède mission.

For this project, the Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration team took up the challenge of developing the entire system in the tight six-months schedule, despite the new developments involved and the severe constraints imposed by French and Russian Space Agencies for experiments to be on board manned flights. The micro-cameras are based on Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration developments for ESA.

LSO Imaging System in operation on-board the ISS. (Courtesy CEA)

This complete system constitutes the experiment Lightning and Sprites Observations (LSO), which has been conducted by the French astronaut Claudie Haigneré in October 2001.

One of the micro-cameras is equipped with a filter tailored for sprites observation, the other one images lightings in the visible spectrum. The system has been attached to a porthole and operated automatically during night above continents (storms are scarce above oceans), thanks to the software in which time parameters have been entered to enable observations according to ISS's orbit.