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Proceedings Paper

System assessment study of the ESA Darwin Mission: concepts trade-off and first iteration design on novel Emma arrangement
Author(s): C. Ruilier; R. Krawczyk; M. Sghedoni; O. Chanal; C. Degrelle; L. Pirson; O. Simane; E. Thomas
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Paper Abstract

ESA's Darwin mission is devoted to direct detection and spectroscopic characterisation of Earth-like planets in the thermal infrared domain by nulling interferometry in space. This technique requires deep and stable starlight rejection to an efficiency around 106 over the whole spectral band. Darwin is a major target for Thales Alenia Space, and is considered as a strategic part of its programme roadmap. In this paper we present the main outcomes of the Darwin mission study conducted by Thales Alenia Space from Oct. 2005 to Jul. 2007. Studying this mission in depth, our proposed most promising configuration features spacecraft in non planar arrangement (called Emma). It offers the best science return in terms of number of stars detected and sky accessibility while staying compliant with mass and volume constraints of a single Ariane 5 launch. Our solution dramatically alleviates engineering constraints thanks to a fully non deployable concept. As compared to the more conventional planar arrangement (called Charles), Emma suppresses Single Point Failures and spurious flexible modes, thus maximising both the system reliability and the stability of the dynamical environment. Emma is fully compatible with either 3 or 4 collectors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 September 2007
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6693, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets III, 66930T (19 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.733679
Show Author Affiliations
C. Ruilier, Alcatel Alenia Space (France)
R. Krawczyk, Alcatel Alenia Space (France)
M. Sghedoni, Alcatel Alenia Space (France)
O. Chanal, Alcatel Alenia Space (France)
C. Degrelle, Alcatel Alenia Space (France)
L. Pirson, Alcatel Alenia Space (France)
O. Simane, Alcatel Alenia Space (France)
E. Thomas, Alcatel Alenia Space (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6693:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets III
Daniel R. Coulter, Editor(s)

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