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Working Papers: Astronomy and Astrophysics Panel Reports
A more complete outline of the recommended program can be found in §II (Implementation of the Science Program). The recommended program is:
LST-6 m HST Successor
HST Third Generation Instruments
Imaging Astrometric Interferometer
SMEX UV Survey.
Space Optics Demonstration
Supporting Ground-based Capabilities
Technologies for Space Telescopes
LST (Large Space Telescope): The LST is a 6 m Observatory-class telescope incorporating UV to IR imagers and spectrographs. Passive-cooling and high-performance optics result in large gains in scientific capability over HST. A high priority goal is location beyond Low Earth Orbit (e.g., HEO - High Earth Orbit). This telescope is an excellent candidate for strong international participation. For operation by 2009 a start date of 1998 is considered necessary. Advances in technology and HEO operation will break away from the HST cost curve and lead to an expected cost of $2000M.
Rapid Explorer Deployment: The Delta-class Explorer program should be enhanced by more frequent missions and shorter development schedules. A wide range of forefront science can be carried out with such missions: contemporary examples are EUVE and Lyman-FUSE (the Extreme UV Explorer and the Far UV Spectroscopic Explorer). The programs should be chosen through peer review. An essential element is education and training of space scientists and engineers. The base of technical and managerial experience in space science must be increased by direct oversight and management of these programs by the PI team. Cost savings will accrue from such an approach. The expected incremental cost of the program is $300M.
HST Third Generation Instruments: The full potential of HST can only be realized with state-of-the-art instruments that compensate for its optical problems. A further set of such instruments should rapidly follow the WF/PC II (Wide Field/Planetary Camera) and the Second Generation Instruments. A high throughput camera is an example. The expected cost of the instruments is $150M.
Imaging Astrometric Interferometer. The potential returns from interferometry are high. An instrument with baselines beyond 20-30 m that demonstrates the needed technologies and offers substantial scientific gains should be developed for a new start late in the decade. The expected cost is $300M.
Small Explorer missions: A UV low spatial resolution all-sky imaging survey would return excellent science in this class. The UV survey would be particularly valuable for mapping diffuse UV emission from the hot and cold ISM. The expected cost of a Small Explorer mission (SMEX) is $30M.
Optics Development and Demonstration: Lightweight optics with high performance surfaces and active control are central to the goals of future telescopes, large and small. Technology developments and demonstrations are needed. The expected cost is $30M.
Supporting Ground-based Capabilities: Ground-based telescopes will continue to play an essential complementary role in support of space observations. They will continue to be particularly important for spectroscopic follow-up and for development and demonstration of new detector and instrument technologies. All-sky coverage is essential. The ground-based program should be augmented by $25M for 4+ m class telescope projects that support space observations.