AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 8 UV/Optical Universe at Ultra-High Angular Resolution
Topical Realted Poster, Monday, May 31, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Ballroom

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[8.12] The Fizeau Interferometer Testbed (FIT): Developing and Testing the Technologies Needed for Space-Based Interferometric Imaging Systems

L. M. Mazzuca, K. G. Carpenter, R. G. Lyon (NASA GSFC), J. Marzouk, P. Cottle, P. Dogoda, H. Huet, P. Liiva, P. Petrone (Sigma Space Corp.), J.T. Armstrong, X. Zhang (NRL), L. Mundy (University of Maryland), D. Mozurkewich (Seabrook Engineering), G. Solyar (GEST UMBC)

The Fizeau Interferometer Testbed (FIT) is a ground-based laboratory experiment at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) designed to develop and test technologies that will be needed for future interferometric spacecraft missions. Specifically, the research from this experiment is a proof-of-concept for optical accuracy and stability, closed-loop control algorithms, optimal sampling methodology of the Fourier UV-plane, computational models for system performance, and image synthesis techniques for a sparse array of 7 to 30 mirrors. It will assess and refine the technical requirements on hardware, control, and imaging algorithms for the Stellar Imager (SI), its pathfinder mission, and other sparse aperture and interferometric imaging mission concepts. This ground-based optical system is a collaborative effort between NASA’s GSFC, Sigma Space Corporation, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the University of Maryland. We present an overview of the final optical design, detector system, and data acquisition process. We further compare the expected performance to the actual performance of the testbed using the initial array of seven spherical mirrors. Currently, we have aligned and phased all seven mirrors, demonstrated excellent system stability for extended periods of time, and begun open-loop operations using “pinhole” light sources. Extended scenes and calibration masks are being fabricated and will shortly be installed in the source module. Installation of all the different phase retrieval/diversity algorithms and control software is well on the way to completion, in preparation for future tests of closed-loop operations.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #2
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