15 September 2011 Advancing technology for starlight suppression via an external occulter
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Abstract
External occulters provide the starlight suppression needed for detecting and characterizing exoplanets with a much simpler telescope and instrument than is required for the equivalent performing coronagraph. In this paper we describe progress on our Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions project to design, manufacture, and measure a prototype occulter petal. We focus on the key requirement of manufacturing a precision petal while controlling its shape within precise tolerances. The required tolerances are established by modeling the effect that various mechanical and thermal errors have on scatter in the telescope image plane and by suballocating the allowable contrast degradation between these error sources. We discuss the deployable starshade design, representative error budget, thermal analysis, and prototype manufacturing. We also present our metrology system and methodology for verifying that the petal shape meets the contrast requirement. Finally, we summarize the progress to date building the prototype petal.
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N. J. Kasdin, N. J. Kasdin, D. N. Spergel, D. N. Spergel, R. J. Vanderbei, R. J. Vanderbei, D. Lisman, D. Lisman, S. Shaklan, S. Shaklan, M. Thomson, M. Thomson, P. Walkemeyer, P. Walkemeyer, V. Bach, V. Bach, E. Oakes, E. Oakes, E. Cady, E. Cady, S. Martin, S. Martin, L. Marchen, L. Marchen, B. Macintosh, B. Macintosh, R. E. Rudd, R. E. Rudd, J. Mikula, J. Mikula, D. Lynch, D. Lynch, } "Advancing technology for starlight suppression via an external occulter", Proc. SPIE 8151, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V, 81510J (15 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.894497; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.894497
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