WFIRST coronagraph technology requirements: Status update and systems engineering approach

Ewan S. Douglas, Ashley K. Carlton, Kerri L. Cahoy, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Margaret Turnbull, Bruce MacIntosh

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

14 Scopus citations


The Coronagraph Instrument (CGI) on the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) will demonstrate technologies and methods for high-contrast direct imaging and spectroscopy of exoplanet systems in reflected light, including polarimetry of circumstellar disks. The WFIRST management and CGI engineering and science investigation teams have developed requirements for the instrument, motivated by the objectives and technology development needs of potential future flagship exoplanet characterization missions such as the NASA Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) and the Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR). The requirements have been refined to support recommendations from the WFIRST Independent External Technical/Management/Cost Review (WIETR) that the WFIRST CGI be classified as a technology demonstration instrument instead of a science instrument. This paper provides a description of how the CGI requirements flow from the top of the overall WFIRST mission structure through the Level 2 requirements, where the focus here is on capturing the detailed context and rationales for the CGI Level 2 requirements. The WFIRST requirements flow starts with the top Program Level Requirements Appendix (PLRA), which contains both high-level mission objectives as well as the CGI-specific baseline technical and data requirements (BTR and BDR, respectively). Captured in the WFIRST Mission Requirements Document (MRD), the Level 2 CGI requirements flow from the PLRA objectives, BTRs, and BDRs. There are five CGI objectives in the WFIRST PLRA, which motivate the four baseline technical/data requirements. There are nine CGI level 2 (L2) requirements presented in this work, which have been developed and validated using predictions from increasingly refined observatory and instrument performance models. We also present the process and collaborative tools used in the L2 requirements development and management, including the collection and organization of science inputs, an open-source approach to managing the requirements database, and automating documentation. The tools created for the CGI L2 requirements have the potential to improve the design and planning of other projects, streamlining requirement management and maintenance. The WFIRST CGI passed its System Requirements Review (SRR) and System Design Review (SDR) in May 2018. The SRR examines the functional requirements and performance requirements defined for the system and the preliminary program or project plan and ensures that the requirements and the selected concept will satisfy the mission, and the SDR examines the proposed system architecture and design and the flow down to all functional elements of the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationModeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VIII
EditorsPhilippe Dierickx, George Z. Angeli
ISBN (Electronic)9781510619630
StatePublished - 2018
EventModeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VIII 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2018Jun 12 2018

Publication series

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


OtherModeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VIII 2018
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


  • circumstellar disks
  • coronagraphy
  • exoplanets
  • requirements
  • space telescope
  • systems engineering
  • wavefront control


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