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Optical Telescope System-Level Design Considerations for a Space-Based Gravitational Wave MissionThe study of the Universe through gravitational waves will yield a revolutionary new perspective on the Universe, which has been intensely studied using electromagnetic signals in many wavelength bands. A space-based gravitational wave observatory will enable access to a rich array of astrophysical sources in the measurement band from 0.1 to 100 mHz, and nicely complement observations from ground-based detectors as well as pulsar timing arrays by sampling a different range of compact object masses and astrophysical processes. The observatory measures gravitational radiation by precisely monitoring the tiny change in the proper distance between pairs of freely falling proof masses. These masses are separated by millions of kilometers and, using a laser heterodyne interferometric technique, the change in their proper separation is detected to approx. 10 pm over timescales of 1000 seconds, a fractional precision of better than one part in 10(exp 19). Optical telescopes are essential for the implementation of this precision displacement measurement. In this paper we describe some of the key system level design considerations for the telescope subsystem in a mission context. The reference mission for this purpose is taken to be the enhanced Laser Interferometry Space Antenna mission (eLISA), a strong candidate for the European Space Agency's Cosmic Visions L3 launch opportunity in 2034. We will review the flow-down of observatory level requirements to the telescope subsystem, particularly pertaining to the effects of telescope dimensional stability and scattered light suppression, two performance specifications which are somewhat different from the usual requirements for an image forming telescope.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Livas, Jeffrey C.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Sankar, Shannon R.
(Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
April 20, 2017
Publication Date
July 29, 2016
Publication Information
Publication: SPIE Proceedings
Volume: 9904
ISSN: 0277-786X
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016(Edinburgh)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
L3 Cosmic Visions
gravitational waves
space-based gravitational wave observatory
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