Direct imaging of exo-Earths and search for life is one of the most exciting and challenging objectives for future space observatories. Segmented apertures in space will be required to reach the needed large diameters beyond the capabilities of current or planned launch vehicles. These apertures present additional challenges for high-contrast coronagraphy, not only in terms of static phasing but also in terms of their stability. The Pair-based Analytical model for Segmented Telescope Imaging from Space (PASTIS) was developed to model the effects of segment-level optical aberrations on the final image contrast. In this paper, we extend the original PASTIS propagation model from a purely analytical to a semi-analytical method, in which we substitute the use of analytical images with numerically simulated images. The inversion of this model yields a set of orthonormal modes that can be used to determine segment-level wavefront tolerances. We present results in the case of segment-level piston error applied to the baseline coronagraph design of LUVOIR A, with minimum and maximum wavefront error constraint between 56 pm and 290 pm per segment. The analysis is readily generalizable to other segment-level aberrations modes, and can also be expanded to establish stability tolerances for these missions.
The goal of the High-contrast imager for Complex Aperture Telescopes (HiCAT) testbed is to demonstrate coronagraphic starlight suppression solutions for future segmented aperture space telescopes such as the Large UV, Optical, IR telescope (LUVOIR) mission concept being studied by NASA. The testbed design has the flexibility to enable studies with increasing complexity for telescope aperture geometries starting with off-axis telescopes, then on-axis telescopes with central obstruction and support structures. The testbed implements the Apodized Pupil Lyot Coronagraph (APLC) optimized for the HiCAT aperture, which is similar to one of the possible geometries considered for LUVOIR. Wavefront can be controlled using continuous deformable mirrors, and wavefront sensing is performed using the imaging camera, or a dedicated phase retrieval camera, and also in a low-order wavefront sensing arm. We present a progress update of the testbed in particular results using two deformable mirror control to produce high-contrast dark zone, and preliminary results using the testbed’s low order Zernike wavefront sensor.