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Proceedings Paper

A paradigm shift to enable more cost-effective space science telescope missions in the upcoming decades
Author(s): Gary Matthews; Keith Havey Jr.; Robert Egerman
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Paper Abstract

Modern astronomy currently is dealing with an exciting but challenging dichotomy. On one hand, there has been and will continue to be countless advances in scientific discovery, but on the other the astronomical community is faced with what unfortunately is considered by many to be an insurmountable budgetary impasse for the foreseeable future. The National Academy of Sciences' Astro2010: Decadal Survey has been faced with the difficult challenge of prioritizing sciences and missions for the upcoming decade while still allowing room for new, yet to be discovered opportunities to receive funding. To this end, we propose the consideration of a paradigm shift to the astronomical community that may enable more cost efficient space-based telescope missions to be funded and still provide a high science return per dollar invested. The proposed paradigm shift has several aspects that make it worthy of consideration: 1) Telescopes would leverage existing Commercial Remote Sensing Satellite (CRSS) Architectures such as the 1.1m NextView systems developed by ITT, GeoEye-1, and WorldView-2, or the 0.7m IKONOS system (or perhaps other proprietary systems); 2) By using large EELV class fairings, multiple telescopes with different science missions could be flown on a single spacecraft bus sharing common features such as communications and telemetry (current Earth Science missions in early development phases are considering this approach); 3) Multiple smaller observatories (with multiple spacecraft) could be flown in a single launch vehicle for instances where the different science payloads had incompatible requirements; and 4) by leveraging CRSS architectures, vendors could supply telescopes at a fixed price. Here we discuss the implications and risks that the proposed paradigm shift would carry.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 August 2010
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 7738, Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy IV, 773824 (4 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858289
Show Author Affiliations
Gary Matthews, ITT Corp. (United States)
Keith Havey Jr., ITT Corp. (United States)
Robert Egerman, ITT Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7738:
Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy IV
George Z. Angeli; Philippe Dierickx, Editor(s)

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