16 September 2015 The Exo-S probe class starshade mission
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Proceedings Volume 9605, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII; 96050W (2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2190378
Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2015, San Diego, California, United States
Abstract
Exo-S is a direct imaging space-based mission to discover and characterize exoplanets. With its modest size, Exo-S bridges the gap between census missions like Kepler and a future space-based flagship direct imaging exoplanet mission. With the ability to reach down to Earth-size planets in the habitable zones of nearly two dozen nearby stars, Exo-S is a powerful first step in the search for and identification of Earth-like planets. Compelling science can be returned at the same time as the technological and scientific framework is developed for a larger flagship mission. The Exo-S Science and Technology Definition Team studied two viable starshade-telescope missions for exoplanet direct imaging, targeted to the $1B cost guideline. The first Exo-S mission concept is a starshade and telescope system dedicated to each other for the sole purpose of direct imaging for exoplanets (The "Starshade Dedicated Mission"). The starshade and commercial, 1.1-m diameter telescope co-launch, sharing the same low-cost launch vehicle, conserving cost. The Dedicated mission orbits in a heliocentric, Earth leading, Earth-drift away orbit. The telescope has a conventional instrument package that includes the planet camera, a basic spectrometer, and a guide camera. The second Exo-S mission concept is a starshade that launches separately to rendezvous with an existing on-orbit space telescope (the "Starshade Rendezvous Mission"). The existing telescope adopted for the study is the WFIRST-AFTA (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope Astrophysics Focused Telescope Asset). The WFIRST-AFTA 2.4-m telescope is assumed to have previously launched to a Halo orbit about the Earth-Sun L2 point, away from the gravity gradient of Earth orbit which is unsuitable for formation flying of the starshade and telescope. The impact on WFIRST-AFTA for starshade readiness is minimized; the existing coronagraph instrument performs as the starshade science instrument, while formation guidance is handled by the existing coronagraph focal planes with minimal modification and an added transceiver.
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Sara Seager, Margaret Turnbull, William Sparks, Mark Thomson, Stuart B. Shaklan, Aki Roberge, Marc Kuchner, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Shawn Domagal-Goldman, Webster Cash, Keith Warfield, Doug Lisman, Dan Scharf, David Webb, Rachel Trabert, Stefan Martin, Eric Cady, Cate Heneghan, "The Exo-S probe class starshade mission", Proc. SPIE 9605, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII, 96050W (16 September 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2190378; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2190378
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KEYWORDS
Telescopes

Space telescopes

Planets

Stars

Exoplanets

Space operations

Coronagraphy

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