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Proceedings Paper

Separated-spacecraft interferometer concept for the New Millennium Program
Author(s): M. Mark Colavita; James P. McGuire Jr.; Randall K. Bartman; Gary H. Blackwood; Robert A. Laskin; Kenneth H. Lau; Michael Shao; Jeffrey W. Yu
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Paper Abstract

A separated spacecraft optical interferometer mission concept proposed for NASA's New Millennium Program is described. The interferometer instrument is distributed over three small spacecraft: two spacecraft serve as collectors, directing starlight toward a third spacecraft which combines the light and performs the interferometric detection. As the primary objective is technology demonstration, the optics are modest size, with a 12-cm aperture. The interferometer baseline is variable from 100 m to 1 km, providing angular resolutions from 1 to 0.1 milliarcseconds. Laser metrology is used to measure relative motions of the three spacecraft. High-bandwidth corrections for stationkeeping errors are accomplished by feedforward to an optical delay line in the combiner spacecraft; low-bandwidth corrections are accomplished by spacecraft control with an electric propulsion or cold-gas system. Determination of rotation of the constellation as a whole uses a Kilometric Optical Gyro, which employs counter-propagating laser beams among the three spacecraft to measure rotation with high accuracy. The mission is deployed in a low-disturbance solar orbit to minimize the stationkeeping burden. As it is well beyond the coverage of the GPS constellation, deployment and coarse stationkeeping are monitored with a GPS-like system, with each spacecraft providing both transmit and receive ranging and attitude functions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 October 1996
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 2807, Space Telescopes and Instruments IV, (12 October 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.255122
Show Author Affiliations
M. Mark Colavita, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
James P. McGuire Jr., Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Randall K. Bartman, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Gary H. Blackwood, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Robert A. Laskin, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Kenneth H. Lau, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Michael Shao, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Jeffrey W. Yu, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2807:
Space Telescopes and Instruments IV
Pierre Y. Bely; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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