A Prototype Mini-EUV Imager to Provide Space Weather Monitoring for NASA's Exploration Initiative, 15-9539Printer Friendly Version
Inclusive Dates: 06/01/05 05/31/06
Background - This goal of this project is to build an engineering prototype mini-Space Weather EUV imager "proof-of-concept" to test and demonstrate feasibility, heritage (specifically design and mass maturity), and Technical Readiness Level (TRL) to reduce future risk to NASA. High heritage and TRL levels are crucial to winning inclusion of a flight version of this prototype instrument on several future mission opportunities as part of the new NASA Exploration Initiative. As a member of several NASA strategic planning committees responsible for charting the course and implementing the new “vision” for exploration, it is becoming increasingly clear that high-TRL, low-risk instruments have a strong competitive advantage on rapid turn-around mission opportunities such as are being currently planned. To achieve these goals, we are building an engineering prototype instrument to demonstrate capability and measurement sensitivity, as well as mission resource parameters such as mass, power, and telemetry needs. We will also perform environmental testing necessary to reduce future risk to NASA and achieve a TRL of six or higher. Such an instrument would not only demonstrate capability, but heritage and commitment, developed completely with SwRI internal research and development support. As an added bonus, but beyond the one-year scope of this project, our prototype space weather imager will have a flight of opportunity on the RAISE sounding rocket flight 36.219, scheduled for launch in June 2006, raising the TRL of the instrument to eight.
Approach - The approach of this project is to detail design, build, test, and characterize a prototype space weather imager to provide reliable remote-sensing observation of the impulsive solar disturbances from remote locations to enable local space weather forecasting for future Exploration missions. We will also perform sufficient environmental testing on the prototype imager to achieve a TRL of six, which is necessary to reduce overall project risk for future NASA missions.
Accomplishments - We have made substantial progress on several aspects of this project, discussed below, and the APS detector procurement order has been placed. We have finalized the optical design and are currently conducting detailed mechanical design in preparation for fabrication. Quotes for the grating, telescope optics, and filters are being procured. The current Space Weather Imager design has been modified to view the +1 and -1 orders using two detectors. This modification has involved replacing the spherical secondary mirror with a grating. Figures 1 through 3 show the imager design that fits well within the volume envelope. The total field of view is 0.6 ´ 0.6 degrees. The detector contains 1,024 ´ 1,024 pixels that are 22 micrometers wide. The image quality is two or three pixels, with a plate scale of 2.5 arcseconds per pixel. The resolution is 60 kilometers per second (km/sec) for a 1.25-inch OAP and 75 km/sec for a 1-inch OAP. This design has been carefully sized to be able to use a commercial off-the-shelf grating with uniform spacing. This current design fits in an envelope of 3.5 in. x 4.125 in. x 18 in. fly on the RAISE sounding rocket.