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Proceedings Paper

Pointing control system for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)
Author(s): Hans Juergen Kaercher; Peter Eisentraeger; Karl Wandner; Rainer Nordmann; Ulrich Schoenhoff
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Paper Abstract

SOFIA, the successor of NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory KAO, is at present under development as a joint program of NASA and the German Space Agency DLR. SOFIA consists of a 2.5 m class IR telescope operated in a Boeing 747SP airplane at altitudes above 41,000 ft. The environment conditions of the telescope during operations in the open port of the aircraft are very harsh and not comparable with those of earthbound telescopes or space telescopes. The narrowness of the port, the disturbances by aircraft vibrations, aero- acoustic loads and wind, the low air pressure and temperatures, the airworthiness regulations, and the specified pointing accuracy of 0.2 arcsec are challenges for the telescope design, which need peculiar decisions. The SOFIA telescope concept takes up some essential features of the KAO telescope, but also acknowledges the technological progress and the increased mirror size. The optimal use of modern design and analysis methods- 'end-to-end- simulations', which combine the behavior of the optical, the structural, mechanical, and the control system and subdue it to the disturbances in the aircraft environment. The paper presents the principles design features of the proposed pointing control system for SOFIA and the latest result of the pointing simulations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 May 1998
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 3351, Telescope Control Systems III, (26 May 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.308840
Show Author Affiliations
Hans Juergen Kaercher, MAN Technologie (Germany)
Peter Eisentraeger, MAN Technologie (Germany)
Karl Wandner, MAN Technologie (Germany)
Rainer Nordmann, Technische Univ. Darmstadt (Germany)
Ulrich Schoenhoff, Technische Univ. Darmstadt (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3351:
Telescope Control Systems III
Hilton Lewis, Editor(s)

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