Proceedings PaperSIM technology development overview: light at the end of the tunnel
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Optical and IR interferometry wil open new vistas for astronomy over the next decade. Space based interferometers, operating unfettered by the Earth's atmosphere, will offer the greatest scientific payoff. They also present the greatest technological challenge: laser metrology systems must perform with sub-nanometer precision; mechanical vibrations must be controlled to nanometers requiring orders of magnitude disturbance rejection; a multitude of actuators and sensors must operate flawlessly in concert. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory along with its industry partners, Lockheed Martin and TRW, are addressing these challenges with a development program that plans to establish technology readiness for the SIM by the end of 2004.