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Proceedings Paper

Verifying occulter deployment tolerances as part of NASA's technology development for exoplanet missions
Author(s): N. J. Kasdin; D. Lisman; S. Shaklan; M. Thomson; D. Webb; E. Cady; G. W. Marks; A. Lo
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Paper Abstract

An external occulter is a satellite employing a large screen, or starshade, that flies in formation with a spaceborne telescope to provide the starlight suppression needed for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. Among the advantages of using an occulter are the broadband allowed for characterization and the removal of light before entering the observatory, greatly relaxing the requirements on the telescope and instrument. In support of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program and the Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions (TDEM), we recently completed a 2 year study of the manufacturability and metrology of starshade petals. In this paper we review the results of that successful first TDEM which demonstrated an occulter petal could be built and measured to an accuracy consistent with close to 10-10 contrast. We then present the results of our second TDEM to demonstrate the next critical technology milestone: precision deployment of the central truss and petals to the necessary accuracy. We show the deployment of an existing deployable truss outfitted with four sub-scale petals and a custom designed central hub.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 September 2013
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8864, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VI, 886417 (26 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2024459
Show Author Affiliations
N. J. Kasdin, Princeton Univ. (United States)
D. Lisman, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
S. Shaklan, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
M. Thomson, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
D. Webb, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
E. Cady, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
G. W. Marks, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (United States)
A. Lo, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8864:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VI
Stuart Shaklan, Editor(s)

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