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13 December 2020 Progress towards hardware demonstrations of critical component-level technologies for ultra-stable optical systems
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To achieve the ambitious goal of directly imaging exo-Earths with a coronagraph, future space-based astronomical telescopes will require wavefront stability several orders of magnitude beyond state-of-the-art. The Ultra-Stable Large Telescope Research and Analysis – Technology Maturation (ULTRA-TM) program will mature critical technologies for this new regime of “ultra-stable optical systems” through component-level hardware demonstrations. This paper describes the progress towards demonstrating performance of these technologies in the picometer regime and with flight-like properties – including active systems like segment sensing and actuation and thermal sensing and control, as well as passive systems like low distortion mirror mounts and composite structures. Raising the TRL of these technologies will address the most difficult parts of the stability problem with the longest lead times and provide significant risk reduction for their inclusion in future mission concepts.
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Laura Coyle, J. Scott Knight, Brian Hicks, Benjamin Cromey, Laurent Pueyo, Matthew East, Sean Brennan, Todd Lawton, Jonathan Arenberg, Robert Hellekson, Marcel Bluth, James R Tucker, Sang Park, and Michael J Eisenhower "Progress towards hardware demonstrations of critical component-level technologies for ultra-stable optical systems", Proc. SPIE 11443, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2020: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 1144323 (13 December 2020); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2560185
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