Verifying occulter deployment tolerances as part of NASA's technology development for exoplanet missions

N. Jeremy Kasdin, D. Lisman, S. Shaklan, M. Thomson, D. Webb, E. Cady, G. W. Marks, A. Lo

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

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

An external occulter is a satellite employing a large screen, or starshade, that flies in formation with a spaceborne telescope to provide the starlight suppression needed for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. Among the advantages of using an occulter are the broadband allowed for characterization and the removal of light before entering the observatory, greatly relaxing the requirements on the telescope and instrument. In support of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program and the Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions (TDEM), we recently completed a 2 year study of the manufacturability and metrology of starshade petals. In this paper we review the results of that successful first TDEM which demonstrated an occulter petal could be built and measured to an accuracy consistent with close to 10-10 contrast. We then present the results of our second TDEM to demonstrate the next critical technology milestone: precision deployment of the central truss and petals to the necessary accuracy. We show the deployment of an existing deployable truss outfitted with four sub-scale petals and a custom designed central hub.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VI
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 9 2013
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VI - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 26 2013Aug 29 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume8864
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X

Other

OtherTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VI
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period8/26/138/29/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

Keywords

  • Exoplanets
  • External occulters
  • High-contrast imaging
  • Occulters
  • Starshades
  • TDEM

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