2 August 2014 EXCEDE technology development III: first vacuum tests
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This paper is the third in the series on the technology development for the EXCEDE (EXoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer) mission concept, which in 2011 was selected by NASA's Explorer program for technology development (Category III). EXCEDE is a 0.7m space telescope concept designed to achieve raw contrasts of 1e6 at an inner working angle of 1.2 l/D and 1e7 at 2 l/D and beyond. This will allow it to directly detect and spatially resolve low surface brightness circumstellar debris disks as well as image giant planets as close as in the habitable zones of their host stars. In addition to doing fundamental science on debris disks, EXCEDE will also serve as a technological and scientific precursor for any future exo-Earth imaging mission. EXCEDE uses a Starlight Suppression System (SSS) based on the PIAA coronagraph, enabling aggressive performance. Previously, we reported on the achievement of our first milestone (demonstration of EXCEDE IWA and contrast in monochromatic light) in air. In this presentation, we report on our continuing progress of developing the SSS for EXCEDE, and in particular (a) the reconfiguration of our system into a more flight-like layout, with an upstream deformable mirror and an inverse PIAA system, and (b) testing this system in a vacuum chamber, including IWA, contrast, and stability performance. Even though this technology development is primarily targeted towards EXCEDE, it is also germane to any exoplanet direct imaging space-based telescopes because of the many challenges common to different coronagraph architectures and mission requirements. This work was supported in part by the NASA Explorer program and Ames Research Center, University of Arizona, and Lockheed Martin SSC.
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Ruslan Belikov, Ruslan Belikov, Julien Lozi, Julien Lozi, Eugene Pluzhnik, Eugene Pluzhnik, Troy T. Hix, Troy T. Hix, Eduardo Bendek, Eduardo Bendek, Sandrine J. Thomas, Sandrine J. Thomas, Dana H. Lynch, Dana H. Lynch, Roger Mihara, Roger Mihara, J. Wes Irwin, J. Wes Irwin, Alan L. Duncan, Alan L. Duncan, Thomas P. Greene, Thomas P. Greene, Olivier Guyon, Olivier Guyon, Richard L. Kendrick, Richard L. Kendrick, Eric H. Smith, Eric H. Smith, Fred C. Witteborn, Fred C. Witteborn, Glenn Schneider, Glenn Schneider, "EXCEDE technology development III: first vacuum tests", Proc. SPIE 9143, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 914323 (2 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057028; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057028

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