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Title: Formation acquisition sensor for the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) mission
Authors: Tien, Jeffrey Y.
Srinivasan, Jeffrey M.
Young, Larry E.
Purcell, George H. Jr.
Keywords: Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF)
formation flying
formation flying sensor
Issue Date: 6-Mar-2004
Publisher: Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2004
Citation: 2004 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, March 6-13, 2004
Abstract: The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) pre-project, an element of NASA’s Origins Program, is currently investigating multiple implementation architectures for finding earth-like planets around other stars. One of the technologies being developed is the Formation Flying Interferometer (FFI). The FFI is envisioned to consist of up to seven spacecraft, each with an infrared telescope, flying in precise formation within +/- l cm of pre-determined trajectories for synchronized observations. The spacecraft to- spacecraft separations are variable between 20 m to 100m during observations to support various interferometer configurations in the planet-finding mode. The challenges involved with TPF autonomous operations, ranging from formation acquisition and formation maneuvering, to high precision formation flying during science observations are unprecedented for deep space missions. To meet these challenges, the Formation Sensor Testbed (FST) under the TPF technology program will develop and demonstrate the key technology of the formation acquisition sensor. Key performance targets for the acquisition sensor are an instantaneous 4phi-steradian field of view and simultaneous range and bearing-angle measurements for multiple spacecraft with accuracy better than 50 cm and 1 degree, respectively. In this paper, we will describe the TPF FFI mission concept, the key formation flying challenges, the acquisition sensor design, the key design challenges, and the current plan to mitigate these design challenges.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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