27 July 2016 Pointing and control system performance and improvement strategies for the SOFIA Airborne Telescope
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Abstract
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has already successfully conducted over 300 flights. In its early science phase, SOFIA's pointing requirements and especially the image jitter requirements of less than 1 arcsec rms have driven the design of the control system. Since the first observation flights, the image jitter has been gradually reduced by various control mechanisms. During smooth flight conditions, the current pointing and control system allows us to achieve the standards set for early science on SOFIA. However, the increasing demands on the image size require an image jitter of less than 0.4 arcsec rms during light turbulence to reach SOFIA's scientific goals. The major portion of the remaining image motion is caused by deformation and excitation of the telescope structure in a wide range of frequencies due to aircraft motion and aerodynamic and aeroacoustic effects. Therefore the so-called Flexible Body Compensation system (FBC) is used, a set of fixed-gain filters to counteract the structural bending and deformation. Thorough testing of the current system under various flight conditions has revealed a variety of opportunities for further improvements. The currently applied filters have solely been developed based on a FEM analysis. By implementing the inflight measurements in a simulation and optimization, an improved fixed-gain compensation method was identified. This paper will discuss promising results from various jitter measurements recorded with sampling frequencies of up to 400 Hz using the fast imaging tracking camera.
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Friederike Graf, Friederike Graf, Andreas Reinacher, Andreas Reinacher, Holger Jakob, Holger Jakob, Ulrich Lampater, Ulrich Lampater, Enrico Pfueller, Enrico Pfueller, Manuel Wiedemann, Manuel Wiedemann, Jürgen Wolf, Jürgen Wolf, Stefanos Fasoulas, Stefanos Fasoulas, "Pointing and control system performance and improvement strategies for the SOFIA Airborne Telescope", Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 99061T (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231803; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2231803
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