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Advancing technology for starlight suppression via an external occulter

Author(s): Kasdin, NJ; Spergel, DN; Vanderbei, Robert J.; Lisman, D; Shaklan, S; et al

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Abstract: External occulters provide the starlight suppression needed for detecting and characterizing exoplanets with a much simpler telescope and instrument than is required for the equivalent performing coronagraph. In this paper we describe progress on our Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions project to design, manufacture, and measure a prototype occulter petal. We focus on the key requirement of manufacturing a precision petal while controlling its shape within precise tolerances. The required tolerances are established by modeling the effect that various mechanical and thermal errors have on scatter in the telescope image plane and by suballocating the allowable contrast degradation between these error sources. We discuss the deployable starshade design, representative error budget, thermal analysis, and prototype manufacturing. We also present our metrology system and methodology for verifying that the petal shape meets the contrast requirement. Finally, we summarize the progress to date building the prototype petal. © 2011 Copyright Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).
Publication Date: 11-Oct-2011
Citation: Kasdin, NJ, Spergel, DN, Vanderbei, RJ, Lisman, D, Shaklan, S, Thomson, M, Walkemeyer, P, Bach, V, Oakes, E, Cady, E, Martin, S, Marchen, L, Macintosh, B, Rudd, RE, Mikula, J, Lynch, D. "Advancing technology for starlight suppression via an external occulter" Proceedings of SPIE 8151, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V, September 15, 2011, doi:10.1117/12.894497
DOI: doi:10.1117/12.894497
ISSN: 0277-786X
Type of Material: Conference Article
Series/Report no.: Proceedings of SPIE;81510J
Journal/Proceeding Title: Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V
Version: This is the publisher’s version of the article (version of record). All rights reserved to the publisher. Please refer to the publisher's site for terms of use.

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