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Proceedings Paper

PICTURE: a sounding rocket experiment for direct imaging of an extrasolar planetary environment
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Paper Abstract

The Planetary Imaging Concept Testbed Using a Rocket Experiment (PICTURE 36.225 UG) was designed to directly image the exozodiacal dust disk of ǫ Eridani (K2V, 3.22 pc) down to an inner radius of 1.5 AU. PICTURE carried four key enabling technologies on board a NASA sounding rocket at 4:25 MDT on October 8th, 2011: a 0.5 m light-weight primary mirror (4.5 kg), a visible nulling coronagraph (VNC) (600-750 nm), a 32x32 element MEMS deformable mirror and a milliarcsecond-class fine pointing system. Unfortunately, due to a telemetry failure, the PICTURE mission did not achieve scientific success. Nonetheless, this flight validated the flight-worthiness of the lightweight primary and the VNC. The fine pointing system, a key requirement for future planet-imaging missions, demonstrated 5.1 mas RMS in-flight pointing stability. We describe the experiment, its subsystems and flight results. We outline the challenges we faced in developing this complex payload and our technical approaches.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 2012
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8442, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 84420E (21 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926408
Show Author Affiliations
Christopher B. Mendillo, Boston Univ. (United States)
Brian A. Hicks, Ctr. for Atmospheric Research, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)
Timothy A. Cook, Ctr. for Atmospheric Research, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell (United States)
Thomas G. Bifano, Photonics Ctr., Boston Univ. (United States)
David A. Content, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Benjamin F. Lane, Draper Lab. (United States)
B. Martin Levine, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Douglas Rabin, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Shanti R. Rao, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Rocco Samuele, Northrop Grumman Corp. (United States)
Edouard Schmidtlin, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Michael Shao, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
J. Kent Wallace, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Supriya Chakrabarti, Boston Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8442:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Mark C. Clampin; Giovanni G. Fazio; Howard A. MacEwen; Jacobus M. Oschmann, Editor(s)

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