Special Section on a Future Large-Aperture Ultraviolet/Optical/Infrared Space Observatory

Designing astrophysics missions for NASA’s Space Launch System

[+] Author Affiliations
H. Philip Stahl, Randall C. Hopkins, Andrew Schnell, Angela Jackman

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama 35812, United States

David Alan Smith

Victory Solutions, 4601 Corporate Drive Suite F, Huntsville, Alabama 35805, United States

Keith R. Warfield

California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, California 91109, United States

J. Astron. Telesc. Instrum. Syst. 2(4), 041213 (Aug 26, 2016). doi:10.1117/1.JATIS.2.4.041213
History: Received February 18, 2016; Accepted August 5, 2016
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Abstract.  Large space telescope missions have always been limited by their launch vehicle’s mass and volume capacities. The Hubble Space Telescope was specifically designed to fit inside the Space Shuttle and the James Webb Space Telescope was specifically designed to fit inside an Ariane 5. Astrophysicists desire even larger space telescopes. NASA’s “Enduring Quests Daring Visions” report calls for an 8- to 16-m Large UV-Optical-IR (LUVOIR) Surveyor mission to enable ultrahigh-contrast spectroscopy and coronagraphy. Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy’s “From Cosmic Birth to Living Earth” report calls for a 12-m class High-Definition Space Telescope to pursue transformational scientific discoveries. NASA’s “Planning for the 2020 Decadal Survey” calls for a Habitable Exoplanet Imaging (HabEx) and an LUVOIR as well as Far-IR and an X-ray Surveyor missions. Packaging larger space telescopes into existing launch vehicles is a significant engineering complexity challenge that drives cost and risk. NASA’s planned Space Launch System (SLS), with its 8- or 10-m diameter fairings and ability to deliver 35 to 45 mt of payload to Sun-Earth-Lagrange-2, mitigates this challenge by fundamentally changing the design paradigm for large space telescopes. This paper introduces the mass and volume capacities of the planned SLS, provides a simple mass allocation recipe for designing large space telescope missions to this capacity, and gives three specific mission concept implementation examples: a 4-m monolithic off-axis telescope, an 8-m monolithic on-axis telescope, and a 12-m segmented on-axis telescope.

© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

H. Philip Stahl ; Randall C. Hopkins ; Andrew Schnell ; David Alan Smith ; Angela Jackman, et al.
"Designing astrophysics missions for NASA’s Space Launch System", J. Astron. Telesc. Instrum. Syst. 2(4), 041213 (Aug 26, 2016). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JATIS.2.4.041213


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