The Framing Camera (FC) is the German contribution to the Dawn mission. The camera will map 4 Vesta and 1 Ceres through a clear filter and 7 band-pass filters covering the wavelengths from the visible to the near-IR. The camera will allow the determination of the physical parameters of the asteroids, the reconstruction of their global shape as well as local topography and surface geomorphology, and provide information on composition via surface reflectance characteristics. The camera will also serve for orbit navigation. The resolution of the Framing Camera will be up to 25 m per pixel in low altitude mapping orbit at Vesta (62 m per pixel at Ceres), at an angular resolution of 93.7 µrad px-1.
The instrument uses a reclosable front door to protect the optical system and a filter-wheel mechanism to select the band-pass for observation. The detector data is read out and processed by a data processing unit. A power converter unit supplies all required power rails for operation and thermal maintenance. For redundancy reasons, two identical cameras were provided, both located side by side on the +Z-deck of the spacecraft. Each camera has a mass of 5.5 kg.