26 February 2003 Space Interferometry Mission starlight and metrology subsystems
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Abstract
The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), planned for launch in 2009, will measure the positions of celestial objects to an unprecedented accuracy of 4.0 microarcseconds. In order to achieve this accuracy, which represents an improvement of almost two orders of magnitude over previous astrometric measurements, a ten-meter baseline interferometer will be flown in space. NASA challenges JPL and its industrial partners, Lockheed Martin and TRW, to develop an affordable mission. This challenge will be met using a combination of existing designs and new technology. Performance and affordability must be balanced with a cost-conscious Systems Engineering approach to design and implementation trades. This paper focuses on the Lockheed Martin-led Starlight (STL) and Metrology (MET) subsystems within the main instrument of SIM. Starlight is collected by 35cm diameter telescopes to form fringes on detectors. To achieve the stated accuracy, the position of these white-light fringes must be measured to 10-9 of a wavelength of visible light. The STL Subsystem consists of siderostats, telescopes, fast steering mirrors, roof mirrors, optical delay lines and beam combiners. The MET Subsystem is used to measure very precisely the locations of the siderostats with respect to one another as well as to measure the distance traveled by starlight from the siderostat mirrors and reference corner cubes through the system to a point very close to the detectors inside the beam combiners. The MET subsystem consists of beam launchers, double and triple corner cubes, and a laser distribution system.
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Lawrence L. Ames, Stephanie D. Barrett, Stuart J. Calhoon, Eric T. Kvamme, James E. Mason, Jeffrey M. Oseas, Mark Pryor, David B. Schaechter, David M. Stubbs, "Space Interferometry Mission starlight and metrology subsystems", Proc. SPIE 4852, Interferometry in Space, (26 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.460693; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.460693
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