Development towards an automated in-flight alignment procedure for the GigaBIT Telescope

Lun Li, N. Jeremy Kasdin, William C. Jones, Steven J. Benton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The upcoming balloon-borne imaging telescope, GigaBIT, is a three-mirror anastigmat (TMA) system with a 1.35-m primary mirror designed to perform wide-field imaging with diffraction limited resolutions in the near ultraviolet (NUV) over a 0.8-deg field of view. An in-flight alignment procedure is being developed that incorporates many techniques novel to ballooning. First, coarse rigid-body adjustments are accomplished through feedback of combined laser rangefinder and retroreflector measurements between the three mirrors. Next, rigid-body adjustments are accomplished using the field-distortion estimated misalignment of each mirror. Lastly, any residual wavefront error of the entire system is compensated by a deformable primary with a set of force actuators. As every step of the procedure will be automated, significant time reduction can be achieved from hours to mere minutes, saving precious time for scientific observations. This paper details the models and simulation results involved in the steps of the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes IX
EditorsHeather K. Marshall, Jason Spyromilio, Tomonori Usuda
ISBN (Electronic)9781510653450
StatePublished - 2022
EventGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes IX 2022 - Montreal, United States
Duration: Jul 17 2022Jul 22 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceGround-Based and Airborne Telescopes IX 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • GigaBIT
  • balloon-borne telescope
  • convolutional neural network
  • field distortion
  • machine learning
  • nodal aberration theory
  • telescope alignment


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