Formation Flying : The Future of Remote Sensing from Space
- Leitner, Jesse
- January 2004.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- Over the next two decades a revolution is likely to occur in how remote sensing of Earth, other planets or bodies, and a range of phenomena in the universe is performed from space. In particular, current launch vehicle fairing volume and mass constraints will continue to restrict the size of monolithic telescope apertures which can be launched to little or no greater size than that of the Hubble Space Telescope, the largest aperture currently flying in space. Systems under formulation today, such as the James Webb Space Telescope will be able to increase aperture size and, hence, imaging resolution, by deploying segmented optics. However, this approach is limited as well, by our ability to control such segments to optical tolerances over long distances with highly uncertain structural dynamics connecting them. Consequently, for orders of magnitude improved resolution as required for imaging black holes, imaging planets, or performing asteroseismology, the only viable approach will be to fly a collection of spacecraft in formation to synthesize a virtual segmented telescope or interferometer with very large baselines. This paper provides some basic definitions in the area of formation flying, describes some of the strategic science missions planned in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and identifies some of the critical technologies needed to enable some of the most challenging space missions ever conceived which have realistic hopes of flying.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20040171390. and International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics; 11-15 Oct. 2004; Munich; Germany.
- No Copyright.
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