The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission, to be launched in 2014 as a part of NASA's Origins Program, will search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. One main concept under study is a structurally connected interferometer. Integrated modeling of all aspects of the flight system is necessary to ensure that the stringent dynamic stability requirements imposed by the mission are met.
The MIT Space Systems Laboratory has developed a suite of analysis tools known as DOCS (Disturbances Optics Controls Structures) that provides a MATLAB environment for managing integrated models and performing analysis and design optimization. DOCS provides a framework for identifying critical subsystem design parameters and efficiently computing system performance as a function of subsystem design. Additionally, the gradients of the performance outputs with respect to design variables can be analytically computed and used for automated exploration and optimization of the design space.
The TPF integrated model consists of a structural finite element model, optical performance model, reaction wheel isolation stage, and attitude/optical control systems. The integrated model is expandable and upgradeable due to the modularity of the state-space subsystem models. Optical performance under reaction wheel disturbances is computed, and the effects of changing design parameters are explored. The results identify redesign options that meet performance requirements with improved margins, reduced cost and minimized risk.