Tolerancing and design trades for free-flying occulters


Eric Cady


Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Building free-flying occulters capable of detecting Earth-like planets requires precise optical design and tolerancing to suppress starlight by 10 orders of magnitude. Further, since the payload itself is acting as the optical element, this optical design must be developed in conjunction with the engineering of the underlying spacecraft. In this paper, we discuss the design of the occulter shape, the methods for placing tolerances on the optical system, and how these are iterated with thermal, structural, deployment and stationkeeping considerations. In particular, we discuss the relationship between occulter tolerancing and system parameters, such as occulter size and telescope diameter, and what design trades may be made to align the optical tolerances with the behavior of the physical occulter-telescope system.

Attached documents

Lyot2010proc s9 poster CadyE.pdf
PDF, 82.6 kb