SIM Configuration Evolution
- Aaron, Kim M.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) is a space-based 10 m baseline Michelson interferometer. Planned for launch in 2005 aboard a Delta III launch vehicle, or equivalent, its primary objective is to measure the positions of stars and other celestial objects with an unprecedented accuracy of 4 micro arc seconds. With such an instrument, tremendous advancement can be expected in our understanding of stellar and galactic dynamics. Using triangulation from opposite sides of the orbit around the sun (i.e. by using parallax) one can measure the distance to any observable object in our galaxy. By directly measuring the orbital wobble of nearby stars, the mass and orbit of planets can be determined over a wide range of parameters. The distribution of velocity within nearby galaxies will be measurable. Observations of these and other objects will improve the calibration of distance estimators by more than an order of magnitude. This will permit a much better determination of the Hubble Constant as well as improving our overall understanding of the evolution of the universe. SIM has undergone several transformations, especially over the past year and a half since the start of Phase A. During this phase of a project, it is desirable to perform system-level trade studies, so the substantial evolution of the design that has occurred is quite appropriate. Part of the trade-off process has addressed two major underlying architectures: SIM Classic; and Son of SIM. The difference between these two architectures is related to the overall arrangement of the optical elements and the associated metrology system. Several different configurations have been developed for each architecture. Each configuration is the result of design choices that are influenced by many competing considerations. Some of the more important aspects will be discussed. The Space Interferometry Mission has some extremely challenging goals: millikelvin thermal stability, nanometer stabilization of optics, picometer measurement of wavefront, and others. In order to meet these goals, a significant amount of technological development is required. Although there has been a program operating for about a decade developing technologies specifically to address the challenges of space-based interferometry, there still remains a tremendous effort to achieve the incredible accuracy required of SIM. The projected viability of some of these areas has influenced design choices during the evolution of the many configurations that have been developed. For instance, the perceived complexity of the IR laser metrology system used to measure and control the positions of key optical elements was the strongest discriminator between the two architectures, and led to a decision to select SOS rather than Classic in early 1998. More recently, an appreciation of the sensitivity to beam-walk within the SOS architecture is forcing a reconsideration of that decision. At the time of submission of this abstract, there is some hope that a full-aperture metrology system may alleviate this issue. In addition to describing the current configuration of SIM, the influence of a few selected areas on the evolution of the configuration will be discussed.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20000060811.
- No Copyright.
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