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Proceedings Paper

The SIM Lite Astrometric Observatory: engineering risk reduction activity
Author(s): Renaud Goullioud; Frank Dekens; Bijan Nemati; Xin An; Larry Hovland
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Paper Abstract

The SIM Lite Astrometric Observatory is a mission concept for a space-borne instrument to perform micro-arcsecond narrow-angle astrometry to search 60 to 100 nearby stars for Earth-like planets, and to perform global astrometry for a broad astrophysics program. The main enabling technology development for the mission was completed during phases A & B. While the project is waiting for the results of the ASTRO2010 Decadal Survey to proceed into flight implementation, the instrument team is currently converting the developed technology onto flight-ready engineering models. These key engineering tasks will significantly reduce the implementation risks during the flight phases C & D of the mission. The main optical interferometer components, including the astrometric beam combiner (ABC), the fine steering mechanism (FSM), the path-length control and modulation optical mechanisms (POM & MOM), focal plane camera electronics (ATC & FTC), camera cooling cryo-heat pipe, and the siderostat mechanism are currently under development. Main assemblies are built to meet flight requirements and have been or will be subjected to flight qualification level environmental testing (random vibration and thermal cycling) and performance testing. The Spectral Calibration Development Unit (SCDU), a white light interferometer testbed has recently demonstrated how to perform the spectral calibration of the instrument. The Guide 2 Telescope testbed (G2T) has demonstrated the 50 micro-arcsecond angle monitoring capability required by SIM Lite to perform astrometry. This paper summarizes recent progress in engineering risk reduction activities.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 July 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7734, Optical and Infrared Interferometry II, 77341M (22 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857721
Show Author Affiliations
Renaud Goullioud, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Frank Dekens, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Bijan Nemati, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Xin An, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Larry Hovland, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7734:
Optical and Infrared Interferometry II
William C. Danchi; Françoise Delplancke; Jayadev K. Rajagopal, Editor(s)

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