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16 September 2015 Design of a laboratory testbed for external occulters at flight Fresnel numbers
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Abstract
One of the main candidates for creating high-contrast for future Exo-Earth detection is an external occulter or sharshade. A starshade blocks the light from the parent star by flying in formation along the line-of-sight from a space telescope. Because of its large size and scale it is impossible to fully test a starshade system on the ground before launch. Instead, we rely on modeling supported by subscale laboratory tests to verify the models. At Princeton, we are designing and building a subscale testbed to verify the suppression and contrast of a starshade at the same Fresnel number as a flight system, and thus mathematically identical to a realistic space mission. Here we present the mechanical design of the testbed and simulations predicting the ultimate contrast performance. We will also present progress in implementation and preliminary results.
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Yunjong Kim, Mike Galvin, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Robert J. Vanderbei, Dongok Ryu, Ki-Won Kim, Sug-Whan Kim, and Dan Sirbu "Design of a laboratory testbed for external occulters at flight Fresnel numbers", Proc. SPIE 9605, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII, 960511 (16 September 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2186349
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