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25 October 2004 A large array of high-performance artificial stars using airship-supported small mirrors
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We propose a practical system that can provide a large number of high performance artificial stars, of the order of a few hundred, using an array of small mirrors on an airship supported platform illuminated from the ground by a laser. Our concept offers several advantages over other guide star schemes: Airborne mirror arrays can furnish tip-tilt information; they also permit a considerable reduction in the total ground-laser power required; high intensity guide stars with very small angular image size are possible; and finally they offer very low scattered parasite laser light. More basic & simpler launch-laser & AO technologies can therefore be employed, with potentially huge cost savings, with potentially significant improvement in the quality of the AO correction. The general platform scheme and suitable lift technologies are also discussed. A novel concept for achieving precise positioning is presented whereby the platform & the lifting vehicle are linked by a tether, the platform having a degree of independent control. Our proposal would employ as the lift vehicle an autonomous high altitude airship of the type currently under widespread development in the commercial sector, for use as hubs for telecommunication networks, mobile telephone relay stations, etc.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Robert Content, Mark Foxwell, and Graham J. Murray "A large array of high-performance artificial stars using airship-supported small mirrors", Proc. SPIE 5490, Advancements in Adaptive Optics, (25 October 2004);


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