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Proceedings Paper

StarLight interferometer architecture and operational concepts
Author(s): Riley M. Duren; Oliver P. Lay; Matthew Wette
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Paper Abstract

The StarLight flight project was designed to demonstrate the key technologies of spaceborne long-baseline stellar interferometry and precision formation flying for potential use on the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and other future astrophysics missions. Interferometer performance validation could be achieved over a 6-12 month period by obtaining several hundred fringe visibility amplitude measurements for stars in the band 600-1000 nm for a variety of stellar visibilities, magnitudes, and baselines. Interferometery could be performed both in a 1 meter fixed-baseline combiner-only mode and in a two-spacecraft formation mode. In formation mode, the combiner spacecraft would remain at the focus of a virtual parabola, while the collector spacecraft assumed various positions along the parabola such that the two arms of the interferometer remained equal over a variety of separations and bearing angles. Challenges to be encountered in flight include high-bandwidth inter-spacecraft stellar and metrology pointing control, alingment and shear correction, delay and delay-rate estimation, visibility calibration, and robust fringe trackign in the presence of local and inter-spacecraft dynamics. This paper is based on the StarLight project design-capture of March 2002 and will describe the StarLight Interferometer System architecture and selected operational concepts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 February 2003
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4852, Interferometry in Space, (26 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.460933
Show Author Affiliations
Riley M. Duren, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Oliver P. Lay, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Matthew Wette, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4852:
Interferometry in Space
Michael Shao, Editor(s)

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