A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope

Task Group on BMDO New Technology Orbital Observatory

Space Studies Board

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1995



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A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope Task Group on BMDO New Technology Orbital Observatory Space Studies Board Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1995

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A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the task group responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Harold Liebowitz is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by Research Grant N00014-94-1-G031 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Naval Research Laboratory. Copies of this report are available from Space Studies Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Copyright 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope TASK GROUP ON BMDO NEW TECHNOLOGY ORBITAL OBSERVATORY MICHAEL F. A’HEARN, University of Maryland, Chair ROGER ANGEL, University of Arizona ANITA COCHRAN, University of Texas, Austin JAMES L. ELLIOT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology HOLLAND C. FORD,* Johns Hopkins University CHRIST FTACLAS, Hughes Danbury Optical Systems GARTH D. ILLINGWORTH, University of California, Santa Cruz Staff DAVID H. SMITH, Executive Secretary ALTORIA B. ROSS, Senior Program Assistant ERIN C. HATCH, Research Assistant CHRISTOPHER DES AUTELS, Research Assistant *   Term ended in 1994, but continued as a liaison to the Space Telescope Science Institute.

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A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope SPACE STUDIES BOARD CLAUDE R. CANIZARES, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair JOHN A. ARMSTRONG, IBM Corporation (retired) LAWRENCE BOGORAD, Harvard University JOSEPH A. BURNS,* Cornell University JOHN J. DONEGAN, U.S. Navy (retired) ANTHONY W. ENGLAND, University of Michigan DANIEL J. FINK, D.J. Fink Associates, Inc. MARTIN E. GLICKSMAN, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute RONALD GREELEY, Arizona State University BILL GREEN, former member, U.S. House of Representatives HAROLD J. GUY, * University of California, San Diego NOEL W. HINNERS, Lockheed Martin Astronautics JANET G. LUHMANN, University of California, Berkeley JOHN H. McELROY, University of Texas, Arlington ROBERTA BALSTAD MILLER, Consortium for International Earth Sciences Information Network BERRIEN MOORE III, University of New Hampshire MARY JANE OSBORN, University of Connecticut Health Center SIMON OSTRACH, Case Western Reserve University CARLÉ M. PIETERS, Brown University JUDITH PIPHER,* University of Rochester MARCIA J. RIEKE, University of Arizona ROLAND SCHMITT, Clifton Park, New York JOHN A. SIMPSON, University of Chicago ARTHUR B.C. WALKER, JR.,* Stanford University MARC S. ALLEN, Director *   Former member.

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A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation, Chair STEPHEN L. ADLER, Institute for Advanced Study PETER M. BANKS, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan SYLVIA T. CEYER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology L. LOUIS HEGEDUS, W.R. Grace and Co. JOHN E. HOPCROFT, Cornell University RHONDA J. HUGHES, Bryn Mawr College SHIRLEY A. JACKSON, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory KEN KENNEDY, Rice University HANS MARK, University of Texas, Austin THOMAS A. PRINCE, California Institute of Technology JEROME SACKS, National Institute for Statistical Sciences L.E. SCRIVEN, University of Minnesota LEON T. SILVER, California Institute of Technology CHARLES P. SLICHTER, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ALVIN W. TRIVELPIECE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory SHMUEL WINOGRAD, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center CHARLES A. ZRAKET, The MITRE Corporation (retired) NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope Preface During the first decade of its existence, the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (now the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization—BMDO) spent approximately $25 billion on development of new technology in support of its ballistic missile defense objectives. Apart from kinetic- and directed-energy weapons development, a significant fraction of these resources were devoted to development of technology for lightweight, high-performance spacecraft and their subsystems. With the Cold War at an end and a new emphasis on exploitation of defense-related technology in the civilian and even commercial sectors, the availability of innovative space capabilities is providing new opportunities for space research that have previously been precluded by cost, weight, or technical feasibility. The application of defense technology is facilitated when space missions are designed in such a way as to simultaneously serve defense test needs and scientific data collection. An example of such an approach was the Clementine small spacecraft mission, launched in January 1994; its military goals were the verification of certain spacecraft subsystems under extended flight conditions in the deep-space radiation environment. The test program, however, was designed in consultation with the planetary science community. As a result, Clementine was able to collect valuable scientific data about the Moon—data that would not otherwise be available to the scientific community. NASA has now recognized the value of missions devoted to technology demonstrations by proposing the New Millennium program. As part of a program designed to test the Alpha chemical laser weapons system in space, BMDO developed components of an agile, lightweight, 4-meter telescope, equipped with an advanced active-optics system. The original test program included both a tracking and a weapons component. Because of budget shortfalls and program redirection, however, BMDO abandoned space testing of the weapons component some years ago. More recently, BMDO was forced to defer the pointing and tracking portion of the test program. BMDO had proposed to make space available in the telescope’s focal plane for instrumentation optimized for scientific applications in astrophysics and planetary astronomy for a potential flight mission. Such a flight mission could still be undertaken if new or additional sponsorship can be found. Despite this uncertainty, BMDO requested assistance in defining the instrumentation and other design aspects necessary to enhance the scientific value of a pointing and tracking mission “should this program or a similar one be funded in a subsequent Defense Plan.” In response to this request, the Space Studies Board established the Task Group on BMDO New Technology Orbital Observatory (TGBNTOO) and charged it to:

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A Scientific Assessment of a New Technology Orbital Telescope Provide instrumentation, data management, and science-operations advice to BMDO to optimize the scientific value of a 4-meter mission; and Support a Space Studies Board assessment of the relative scientific merit of the program. This report deals with the first of these tasks. The initial, information-gathering phase of the study involved site visits to Itek Optical Systems in Lexington, Massachusetts (October 6-7, 1994) and Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. in Sunnyvale, California (November 17-19, 1994). During the course of these meetings, task group members were briefed on the 4-meter telescope project by representatives from BMDO, Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, and host organizations. While at Itek, members inspected completed optical components of the 4-meter telescope and viewed associated manufacturing and testing facilities. While at Lockheed, members toured spacecraft production and testing facilities. A detailed outline of this report and initial drafts of its sections were completed at the task group’s third and final meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C. (December 19-20). Work on drafting and finalizing the report continued during the first half of 1995. The TGBNTOO appreciates the time and thoughtful attention provided by the many individuals who helped contribute to this report. We wish to single out the following for special thanks: Sam Williams (Lockheed Missiles and Space Co.), Roland Plante (Itek Optical Systems), Larry Stepp (Gemini 8-meter Telescope Project), William Holzer (Hughes Santa Barbara Research Center), and, in particular, Stephen E. Strom (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), for his considerable input to the section on star formation in Chapter 5. The comments and criticisms of reviewers of early drafts of this report are gratefully acknowledged. Of course, the findings, conclusions, and judgments of this report are solely the responsibility of the task group. Michael F. A’Hearn, Chair Task Group on BMDO New Technology Orbital Observatory