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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Precision Detector Positioner

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

There is a need to precisely position detectors to enable Precision Formation Flying (PFF) of  multiple spacecraft for the Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSM).  The same device is also required for upcoming coronograph missions to actively control the occulter location to precisely image solar ejections and corona phenomena.  The intent of the IRAD is to develop an efficient 2-axis precision positioning mechanism with the accuracy, speed, and range of motion to satisfy multiple upcoming mission needs and advance that design TRL using spare sensors from another project and procuring commercial-grade actuators to build and functionally test an engineering unit.  Environmental testing will be done as funding allows.

The objective of this IRAD is to develop a flexible in-house design of a 2-axis positioning system and do performance testing and some temperature testing in order to take that design to TRL-4, almost TRL-5.  There are a variety of GSFC proposals that need this type of mechanism including a detector positioning system for the  Precision Formation Flying (PFF) capability of  multiple spacecraft for the Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSM) and upcoming coronograph missions that need to actively control an occulter at the end of a long boom.  Upon successful completion,  a relatively small amount of additional funding would allow the environmental qualification testing needed to satisfy TRL-6 requirements.

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