Silicon X-ray detectors often require blocking filters to mitigate noise and out-of-band signal from UV and visible backgrounds. Such filters must be thin to minimize X-ray absorption, so direct deposition of filter material on the detector entrance surface is an attractive approach to fabrication of robust filters. On the other hand, the soft (E < 1 keV) X-ray spectral resolution of the detector is sensitive to the charge collection efficiency in the immediate vicinity of its entrance surface, so it is important that any filter layer is deposited without disturbing the electric field distribution there. We have successfully deposited aluminum blocking filters, ranging in thickness from 70 to 220nm, on back-illuminated CCD X-ray detectors passivated by means of molecular beam epitaxy. Here we report measurements showing that directly deposited filters have little or no effect on soft X-ray spectral resolution. We also find that in applications requiring very large optical density (> OD 6) care must be taken to prevent light from entering the sides and mounting surfaces of the detector. Our methods have been used to deposit filters on the detectors of the REXIS instrument scheduled to fly on OSIRIS-ReX later this year.
OSIRIS-REx is the third spacecraft in the NASA New Frontiers Program and is planned for launch in 2016. OSIRIS-REx will orbit the near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu, characterize it, and return a sample of the asteroid’s regolith back to Earth. The Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) is an instrument on OSIRIS-REx designed and built by students at MIT and Harvard. The purpose of REXIS is to collect and image sun-induced fluorescent X-rays emitted by Bennu, thereby providing spectroscopic information related to the elemental makeup of the asteroid regolith and the distribution of features over its surface. Telescopic reflectance spectra suggest a CI or CM chondrite analog meteorite class for Bennu, where this primitive nature strongly motivates its study. A number of factors, however, will influence the generation, measurement, and interpretation of the X-ray spectra measured by REXIS. These include: the compositional nature and heterogeneity of Bennu, the time-variable solar state, X-ray detector characteristics, and geometric parameters for the observations. In this paper, we will explore how these variables influence the precision to which REXIS can measure Bennu’s surface composition. By modeling the aforementioned factors, we place bounds on the expected performance of REXIS and its ability to ultimately place Bennu in an analog meteorite class.
The REgolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) instrument is a student collaboration instrument on the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission scheduled for launch in September 2016. The REXIS science mission is to characterize the elemental abundances of the asteroid Bennu on a global scale and to search for regions of enhanced elemental abundance. The thermal design of the REXIS instrument is challenging due to both the science requirements and the thermal environment in which it will operate. The REXIS instrument consists of two assemblies: the spectrometer and the solar X-ray monitor (SXM). The spectrometer houses a 2x2 array of back illuminated CCDs that are protected from the radiation environment by a one-time deployable cover and a collimator assembly with coded aperture mask. Cooling the CCDs during operation is the driving thermal design challenge on the spectrometer. The CCDs operate in the vicinity of the electronics box, but a 130 °C thermal gradient is required between the two components to cool the CCDs to -60 °C in order to reduce noise and obtain science data. This large thermal gradient is achieved passively through the use of a copper thermal strap, a large radiator facing deep space, and a two-stage thermal isolation layer between the electronics box and the DAM. The SXM is mechanically mounted to the sun-facing side of the spacecraft separately from the spectrometer and characterizes the highly variable solar X-ray spectrum to properly interpret the data from the asteroid. The driving thermal design challenge on the SXM is cooling the silicon drift detector (SDD) to below -30 °C when operating. A two-stage thermoelectric cooler (TEC) is located directly beneath the detector to provide active cooling, and spacecraft MLI blankets cover all of the SXM except the detector aperture to radiatively decouple the SXM from the flight thermal environment. This paper describes the REXIS thermal system requirements, thermal design, and analyses, with a focus on the driving thermal design challenges for the instrument. It is shown through both analysis and early testing that the REXIS instrument can perform successfully through all phases of its mission.
OSIRIS-REx is a NASA New Frontiers mission scheduled for launch in 2016 that will travel to the asteroid Bennu and return a pristine sample of the asteroid to Earth. The REgolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) is a student collaboration instrument on-board the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. REXIS is a NASA risk Class D instrument, and its design and development is largely student led. The engineering team consists of MIT graduate and undergraduate students and staff at the MIT Space Systems Laboratory. The primary goal of REXIS is the education of science and engineering students through participation in the development of light hardware. In light, REXIS will contribute to the mission by providing an elemental abundance map of the asteroid and by characterizing Bennu among the known meteorite groups. REXIS is sensitive to X-rays between 0.5 and 7 keV, and uses coded aperture imaging to map the distribution of iron with 50 m spatial resolution. This paper describes the science goals, concept of operations, and overall engineering design of the REXIS instrument. Each subsystem of the instrument is addressed with a high-level description of the design. Critical design elements such as the Thermal Isolation Layer (TIL), radiation cover, coded-aperture mask, and Detector Assembly Mount (DAM) are discussed in further detail.
The Regolith x-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) is a coded-aperture soft x-ray imaging instrument on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to be launched in 2016. The spacecraft will fly to and orbit the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, while REXIS maps the elemental distribution on the asteroid using x-ray fluorescence. The detector consists of a 2×2 array of backilluminated 1k×1k frame transfer CCDs with a flight heritage to Suzaku and Chandra. The back surface has a thin p<sup>+</sup>-doped layer deposited by molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) for maximum quantum efficiency and energy resolution at low x-ray energies. The CCDs also feature an integrated optical-blocking filter (OBF) to suppress visible and near-infrared light. The OBF is an aluminum film deposited directly on the CCD back surface and is mechanically more robust and less absorptive of x-rays than the conventional free-standing aluminum-coated polymer films. The CCDs have charge transfer inefficiencies of less than 10<sup>-6</sup>, and dark current of 1e-/pixel/second at the REXIS operating temperature of –60 °C. The resulting spectral resolution is 115 eV at 2 KeV. The extinction ratio of the filter is ~10<sup>12</sup> at 625 nm.
The OSIRIS-REx Mission was selected under the NASA New Frontiers program and is scheduled for launch in
September of 2016 for a rendezvous with, and collection of a sample from the surface of asteroid Bennu in 2019.
101955 Bennu (previously 1999 RQ36) is an Apollo (near-Earth) asteroid originally discovered by the LINEAR project in 1999 which has since been classified as a potentially hazardous near-Earth object. The REgolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) was proposed jointly by MIT and Harvard and was subsequently accepted as a student led instrument for the determination of the elemental composition of the asteroid's surface as well as the surface distribution of select elements through solar induced X-ray fluorescence. REXIS consists of a detector plane that contains 4 X-ray CCDs integrated into a wide field coded aperture telescope with a focal length of
20 em for the detection of regions with enhanced abundance in key elements at 50 m scales. Elemental surface distributions of approximately 50-200 m scales can be detected using the instrument as a simple collimator. An overview of the observation strategy of the REXIS instrument and expected performance are presented here.
Robust performance tailoring and tuning is a design methodology developed for high-performance, high-risk missions, such as NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). It improves the level of mission confidence obtainable in the absence of a fully integrated system test prior to launch. If uncertainty is high and performance requirements are difficult to meet, existing robust design techniques can not always guarantee performance. Therefore, robust design is extended to include tuning elements that compensate for performance deviations due to parametric modeling uncertainty after the structure is built. In its early stages, the design is tailored for performance, robustness and tuneability. The incorporation of carefully chosen tuning elements guarantees that, once built, the structure will be tuneable to bring performance within requirements. In this paper we apply the dynamic tailoring and tuning methodologies to an integrated model of a structurally-connected TPF interferometer. The problem of interferometer design is posed in a robust design framework and appropriate tuning parameters such as reaction wheel isolator corner frequency and primary mirror support design are identified. Robust performance tailoring with tuning is applied to the problem using structural optimization to obtain a design that manages uncertainty through robustness and tuning authority and achieves a superior design to those generated with dynamic tailoring and robust design alone.