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26 February 2003 Use of drag-free spacecraft in the detection of low-frequency gravitational radiation
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The detection of low-frequency gravitational radiation requires a space-borne detector, principally to escape the effects of seismic noise which plague ground-based detectors at low frequencies. Although the seismic disturbance is eliminated, the space environment introduces its own set of problems. For example, solar radiation pressure. This can be shielded by the technique of 'drag-free control', whereby the spacecraft encompassing the test mass provides protection from the external distrubances. A feedback control system ensures that the spacecraft remains 'centered' on the internal mass, while at the same time being physically de-coupled from it. As well as attenuating the external disturbances, the drag-free controls system must minimize the relative motion between the spacecraft and test mass, in order to reduce forces arising from dynamic coupling between the two. Missions like LISA which will perform ultra-precise interferometric measurements require drag-free thruster and sensor technologies with extremely low noise levels. An overveiw of the requirements and the technologies currently being pursued for the LISA drag-free control system is presented.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Yusuf R. Jafry "Use of drag-free spacecraft in the detection of low-frequency gravitational radiation", Proc. SPIE 4856, Gravitational-Wave Detection, (26 February 2003);

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