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2 August 2014 Technology development towards WFIRST-AFTA coronagraph
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NASA’s WFIRST-AFTA mission concept includes the first high-contrast stellar coronagraph in space. This coronagraph will be capable of directly imaging and spectrally characterizing giant exoplanets similar to Neptune and Jupiter, and possibly even super-Earths, around nearby stars. In this paper we present the plan for maturing coronagraph technology to TRL5 in 2014-2016, and the results achieved in the first 6 months of the technology development work. The specific areas that are discussed include coronagraph testbed demonstrations in static and simulated dynamic environment, design and fabrication of occulting masks and apodizers used for starlight suppression, low-order wavefront sensing and control subsystem, deformable mirrors, ultra-low-noise spectrograph detector, and data post-processing.
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