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Proceedings Paper

SOFIA pointing history
Author(s): Hans J. Kärcher; Nans Kunz; Pasquale Temi; Alfred Krabbe; Jörg Wagner; Martin Süß
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Paper Abstract

The original pointing accuracy requirement of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy SOFIA was defined at the beginning of the program in the late 1980s as very challenging 0.2 arcsec rms. The early science flights of the observatory started in December 2010 and the observatory has reached in the mean time nearly 0.7 arcsec rms, which is sufficient for most of the SOFIA science instruments. NASA and DLR, the owners of SOFIA, are planning now a future 4 year program to bring the pointing down to the ultimate 0.2 arcsec rms. This may be the right time to recall the history of the pointing requirement and its verification and the possibility of its achievement via early computer models and wind tunnel tests, later computer aided end-to-end simulations up to the first commissioning flights some years ago. The paper recollects the tools used in the different project phases for the verification of the pointing performance, explains the achievements and may give hints for the planning of the upcoming final pointing improvement phase.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 July 2014
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 9145, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V, 91450S (22 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055463
Show Author Affiliations
Hans J. Kärcher, MT Mechatronics GmbH (Germany)
Nans Kunz, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Pasquale Temi, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Alfred Krabbe, Deutsches SOFIA Institut, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Jörg Wagner, Deutsches SOFIA Institut, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
Martin Süß, MT Mechatronics GmbH (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9145:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V
Larry M. Stepp; Roberto Gilmozzi; Helen J. Hall, Editor(s)

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