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Proceedings Paper

Possible use of a narrow-field star tracker on the New Millennium SSI mission
Author(s): Peter L. Bender; Robin T. Stebbins; William M. Folkner
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Paper Abstract

A separated spacecraft interferometer (SSI) demonstration mission with three spacecraft has been proposed for flight under the NASA New Millennium Technology Development Program. Both the rotation rate of the interferometer about the normal to the plane containing the three spacecraft and the orientation in the plane must be determined accurately in order to permit the detection of white light fringes from sources that have visual magnitudes as high as possible. It presently is planned to use signals from tracking the science object plus other auxiliary information to determine the interferometer rotation rate dθ/dt and the angular position θ . We have investigated a possible supplementary approach that makes use of a combined beacon tracker and narrow-field star tracker on one of the two collector spacecraft. A very small beacon mounted on the other collector spacecraft can be viewed with respect to a reference star nearly 180 degrees away to determine dθ/dt and θ for the interferometer. Beacon/star tracker observations over roughly an hour appear sufficient to determine the sweep rate for starlight fringes in the interferometer to adequate accuracy and to detect the fringes.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 July 1998
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 3350, Astronomical Interferometry, (24 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.317114
Show Author Affiliations
Peter L. Bender, Univ. of Colorado/Boulder and National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
Robin T. Stebbins, Univ. of Colorado/Boulder and National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
William M. Folkner, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3350:
Astronomical Interferometry
Robert D. Reasenberg, Editor(s)

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