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Proceedings Paper

Getting NuSTAR on target: predicting mast motion
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Paper Abstract

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is the first focusing high energy (3-79 keV) X-ray observatory operating for four years from low Earth orbit. The X-ray detector arrays are located on the spacecraft bus with the optics modules mounted on a flexible mast of 10.14m length. The motion of the telescope optical axis on the detectors during each observation is measured by a laser metrology system and matches the pre-launch predictions of the thermal flexing of the mast as the spacecraft enters and exits the Earths shadow each orbit. However, an additional motion of the telescope field of view was discovered during observatory commissioning that is associated with the spacecraft attitude control system and an additional flexing of the mast correlated with the Solar aspect angle for the observation. We present the methodology developed to predict where any particular target coordinate will fall on the NuSTAR detectors based on the Solar aspect angle at the scheduled time of an observation. This may be applicable to future observatories that employ optics deployed on extendable masts. The automation of the prediction system has greatly improved observatory operations efficiency and the reliability of observation planning.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 July 2016
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9910, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI, 99100Z (15 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231239
Show Author Affiliations
Karl Forster, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Kristin K. Madsen, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Hiromasa Miyasaka, California Institute of Technology (United States)
William W. Craig, Space Sciences Lab. (United States)
Fiona A. Harrison, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Vikram R. Rana, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Craig B. Markwardt, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Brian W. Grefenstette, California Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9910:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI
Alison B. Peck; Robert L. Seaman; Chris R. Benn, Editor(s)

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