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Proceedings Paper

Propellantless precision formation flying with photonic laser thrusters for large space telescopes
Author(s): Young K. Bae
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Paper Abstract

One economically and technologically feasible bedrock structure for constructing large (diameter > 10 m) space telescopes is a segmented or sparse aperture system with subcomponents in precision formation flight. For UV/Visible/IR systems, initial targeting and targeting new objects to establish initial fringes requires the positioning precision to nm - μm accuracy, thus the control system should be capable of the required precision positioning and attitude controls without producing contaminations from thruster exhaust plumes. A nanometer accuracy contaminationfree formation architecture, Photon Tether Formation Flight (PTFF), based on Photonic Laser Thrusters (PLTs) and tethers has been proposed to exploit a force equilibrium formed by PLT thrust and tether tension for forming precision persistent 3-D formation structures ideal for the large UV/Visible/IR space telescopes. The range of the PLT force can theoretically extend over several kms. Under previous NASA sponsorship, we have successfully demonstrated a proofof- concept PLT. In addition, the demonstrations of required laser components, optics and tracking technologies developed under military laser applications now support that implementation of PLTs for large space telescopes is one step closer to reality.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 August 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7436, UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes: Innovative Technologies and Concepts IV, 74360F (26 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.824485
Show Author Affiliations
Young K. Bae, Y.K. Bae Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7436:
UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes: Innovative Technologies and Concepts IV
Howard A. MacEwen; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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