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Bifocal Relay Mirror Spacecraft Laboratory

The Three Axis Simulator I (TAS I) is our first generation spacecraft simulator utilizing a spherical air-bearing. Three rotational degree-of-freedom with reaction wheels and rate gyros a provide a ground testing platform of three axis rotational spacecraft.

A simple optical system is also incorporated into the spacecraft simulator to demonstrate the concept of the Bifocal Relay Mirror Spacecraft, which relays a laser light from one point to another distant point. TAS I has also been utilized to demonstrate various spacecraft attitude control and optical beam control methods.


The Three Axis Simulator II (TAS II) is a second generation spacecraft simulator equipped with more powerful actuators and more accurate sensors. The research goal with TAS II is to demonstrate Acquisition, Tracking and Pointing (ATP) technologies required by modern spacecraft applications. TAS II is a part of the Bifocal Relay Mirror system, which can simulate the relaying operation of a laser light during orbital motion.


The Laser Jitter Control Testbed is used for experiments that explore the use of various control techniques to reduce optical jitter induced by mechanical vibration and/or atmospheric turbulence, which degenerates the performance of optical payload systems.

A floating platform (to simulate a spacecraft) houses a shaker to generate vibrational disturbance, a Fast Steering Mirror which is controlled to compensate optical jitter, an accelerometer to measure vibration, and other optical components. An off-board fast steering mirror is also used to corrupt the laser beam and a number of Position Sensing Detectors are used to generate reference signals and error signals.


The Adaptive Optics Testbed uses adaptive optics to improve the quality of an imaged object. Light from an object of interest and a red light reference laser beam travel together though the optical components on the table, becoming aberrated in the process.

A Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor samples the wavefront to determine the nature of the aberrations, a computer algorithm computes the phase conjugate correction to compensate for the aberrations, and a deformable mirror is commanded to apply the phase conjugate.


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