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Recent status of SIM Lite Astrometric Observatory mission: Flight engineering risk reduction activities

By: Carson, J.; Xin An; Nemati, B.; Dekens, F.; Goullioud, R.;

2010 / IEEE / 978-1-4244-3887-7

Description

This item was taken from the IEEE Conference ' Recent status of SIM Lite Astrometric Observatory mission: Flight engineering risk reduction activities ' The SIM Lite Astrometric Observatory is a mission concept for a space-borne instrument to perform micro-arc-second narrow-angle astrometry to search 60 to 100 nearby stars for Earth-like planets, and to perform global astrometry for a broad astrophysics program. The instrument consists of two Michelson stellar interferometers and a telescope. The first interferometer chops between the target star and a set of reference stars. The second interferometer monitors the attitude of the instrument in the direction of the target star. The telescope monitors the attitude of the instrument in the other two directions. The main enabling technology development for the mission was completed during phases A & B. The project is currently implementing the developed technology onto flight-ready engineering models. These key engineering tasks will significantly reduce the implementation risks during the flight phases C & D of the mission. The main optical interferometer components, including the astrometric beam combiner, the fine steering optical mechanism, the path-length-control and modulation optical mechanisms, focal-plane camera electronics and cooling heat pipe, are currently under development. Main assemblies are built to meet flight requirements and will be subjected to flight qualification level environmental testing (random vibration and thermal cycling) and performance testing. This paper summarizes recent progress in engineering risk reduction activities.