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Proceedings Paper

Development of telescope balancing methodologies for SOFIA
Author(s): Robert W. Mah; Edward Wilson; Michael C. Guerrero; Alessandro E. Galvagni; Mark A. Wallace; Jose L. Winters
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Paper Abstract

NASA Kuiper telescope personnel identified computer-aided telescope balancing as a needed capability which will save significant amount of time and will improve SOFIA operational effectiveness. Automated telescope balancing is considered a 'critical technology need' for SOFIA. It is necessary to balance the telescope to accommodate the different science instruments. The telescope must be adequately balanced to enable the pointing and tracking system to operate properly. In-flight balancing may be necessary because the mass properties of the science instruments can change during its operation and because of disturbance torques. In the past, a trial and error procedure was used to balance the Kuiper telescope, which can take up to several hours and requires a highly skilled, experienced technician to perform the task. Various approaches for balancing the telescope are reported in this paper. Potential benefits are: 1) enable balance compensation to be performed quickly, thereby reducing operations costs, 2) enable a much wider range of balance compensation to be performed in-flight, which may increase science observation time and science return, 3) enable technicians of any skill level to balance the telescope with the aid of a computerized system, and 4) improve the performance of the telescope by increasing the precision of the balance, which may increase science return.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 August 1998
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3354, Infrared Astronomical Instrumentation, (21 August 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.317238
Show Author Affiliations
Robert W. Mah, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Edward Wilson, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Michael C. Guerrero, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Alessandro E. Galvagni, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Mark A. Wallace, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Jose L. Winters, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3354:
Infrared Astronomical Instrumentation
Albert M. Fowler, Editor(s)

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