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20 October 2004 Current status of the TPF formation flying interferometer concept
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This paper describes the current status of the technical program aiming to demonstrate the viability of a formation-flying mid-infrared nulling interferometer architecture for the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) program. Until recently the TPF project was considering four architectures, with the goal of selecting one in the 2006 timeframe. In April 2004, the project office opted instead to follow a path leading to a small (4x6m) visible-light coronagraph, to launch around 2014, and a formation-flying interferometer (FFI), to launch before 2020. The FFI is proposed to satisfy the full TPF science goal to completely survey 150 stars for evidence of terrestrial planets similar to Earth, while the coronagraph will perform a survey of 30-50 stars at visible wavelength. FFI trade studies conducted since mid-2003 have focused on key factors driving overall flight segment mass and performance, including launch vehicle packaging, deployment approach, thermal design (particularly the thermal shield configuration), structural design, and formation flying approach. This paper summarizes the results of the recent design trades, with discussion of the primary requirements that drive the baseline design concept. Analyses supporting the baseline design are summarized, and areas for future study are discussed.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Daniel D. Miller and David Fischer "Current status of the TPF formation flying interferometer concept", Proc. SPIE 5491, New Frontiers in Stellar Interferometry, (20 October 2004);


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