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Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems • Open Access

Path to a UV/optical/IR flagship: review of ATLAST and its predecessors

Paper Abstract

Our recently completed study for the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) was the culmination of three years of initially internally funded work that built upon earlier engineering designs, science objectives, and technology priorities. Beginning in the mid-1980s, multiple teams of astronomers, technologists, and engineers developed concepts for a large-aperture UV/optical/IR space observatory intended to follow the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Here, we summarize since the first significant conferences on major post-HST ultraviolet, optical, and infrared (UVOIR) observatories the history of designs, scientific goals, key technology recommendations, and community workshops. Although the sophistication of science goals and the engineering designs both advanced over the past three decades, we note the remarkable constancy of major characteristics of large post-HST UVOIR concepts. As it has been a priority goal for NASA and science communities for a half-century, and has driven much of the technology priorities for major space observatories, we include the long history of concepts for searching for Earth-like worlds. We conclude with a capsule summary of our ATLAST reference designs developed by four partnering institutions over the past three years, which was initiated in 2013 to prepare for the 2020 National Academies’ Decadal Survey.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 July 2016
PDF: 11 pages
J. Ast. Inst. Sys. 2(4) 041210 doi: 10.1117/1.JATIS.2.4.041210
Published in: Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems Volume 2, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
Harley Thronson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Matthew R. Bolcar, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Mark Clampin, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Julie Crooke, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Lee Feinberg, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
William Oegerle, Siesta Key Institute for Astrophysics (United States)
Norman Rioux, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
H. Philip Stahl, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Karl Stapelfeldt, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


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