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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Broadband Active Segmented Aperture and Radial Shear Nulling (VNC)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Visible Nulling Coronagraph (VNC) is a starlight suppression system for enabling exoplanet detection
and atmospheric measurement. Conceptual space telescope missions including the large UV/optical/IR
(LUVOIR) surveyor require such a starlight suppression system to carry out the scientific goals associated
with directly imaging nearby worlds. Direct imaging is complementary to upcoming missions like TESS, and
should eventually enable access to the > 95% of habitable worlds outside of transit discovery space.
This IRAD supports near-term work to 1) fabricate and test symmetric broad-
band interferometric nulling optics; 2) demonstrate automated fine alignment of the Segmented Aperture
Interferometric Nulling Testbed (SAINT) primary mirror; 3) quantify performance of the SAINT closed-loop
fine pointing system; and 4) assemble, align and demonstrate a radial shear first order implementation of a
system known as the Phase-Occulation Nulling Coronagraph (PONC).

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