AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 82. Planning for Future Missions: Radio to X-Ray
Poster, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[82.05] Laboratory Test Bed For High-Contrast Space Telescope Imaging Concepts

T. Hull, J. Trauger, D. Redding, B. Gordon, J.J. Green, Y. Gürsel, A. Lowman, H. Kadogawa, S. Macenka, D. Moody, S. Shaklan, F. Shi (JPL)

Predictions of the contrast performance of the Eclipse coronagraphic telescope are based on computer simulations and estimates for the physical characteristics of commercially available optical components. The High Contrast Imaging Testbed (HCIT), under development at JPL, is intended to validate the enabling technologies for space-based coronagraphic imaging with precision active wavefront control. The HCIT integrates light sources, relay optics, deformable mirror, wavefront sensors, graded occulting and Lyot masks, detectors, and baffles into a vibration-isolated vacuum environment. With the exception of a large telescope, the HCIT provides all the essential elements needed for a system-level demonstration of 109 contrast imaging as near as four airy radii (4 \lambda/D) from bright stars. The HCIT will be used to evaluate the elements of the coronagraphic camera design, including pupil shapes and apodizations, smoothness and uniformity of optical surfaces, techniques for precision wavefront phase sensing and control, stray light control, and alignment tolerances. The HCIT will validate the optical models and propagation codes required to predict the performance of space telescope architectures for direct imaging of extrasolar planets, in support of the development of both TPF and TPF precursor mission concepts.

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