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13 December 2020 Optimast structurally connected interferometry enabled by in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly
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Future goals for astrophysics at the frontiers of high spatial resolution demand synthetic apertures significantly larger than the current or upcoming generations of single-aperture space observatories. Space-based interferometry enabled by in-space manufacturing delivers cost-effective observation of faint objects at unprecedented levels of angular resolution. Using the Made In Space (MIS) Optimast technology, a simple, two aperture Structurally Connected Interferometer (SCI) can be produced via in-space Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology. Optimast enables the manufacturing and deployment of small interferometric apertures at the tips of two large primary trusses unconstrained by launch loads or volume restrictions that meet science requirements for high angular resolutions, in the milliarcsecond regime. The LightBeam mission concept enabled by this capability has a wide range of ground-breaking science capabilities, including: measuring the sizes, shapes, and surface morphology of single asteroids, and binary asteroid orbits; imaging of young stellar object disk sculpting in the terrestrial planet regime; and probing the inner regions of active galactic nuclei. Space-based deployment of an interferometer unconstrained by the turbulent atmosphere will increase the sensitivity reach of such an instrument relative to its ground-based counterparts by a factor of 1,000 or more.
© (2020) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gerard T. van Belle, Dan Hillsberry, John Kloske, Justin Kugler, Simon Patané, Noah Paul-Gin, Jessica Piness, Daniel Riley, Jack Schomer, Mike Snyder, and Thorin Tobiassen "Optimast structurally connected interferometry enabled by in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly", Proc. SPIE 11446, Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VII, 114462K (13 December 2020);




Spatial resolution



Additive manufacturing


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