The LISA mission observes gravitational waves by measuring the separations between freely floating proof masses located 5 million kilometers apart with an accuracy of - 10 picometers. The separations are measured interferometrically. The telescope is an afocal Cassegrain style design with a magnification of 80x. The entrance pupil has a 40 cm diameter and will either be centered on-axis or de-centered off-axis to avoid obscurations. Its two main purposes are to transform the small diameter beam used on the optical bench to a diffraction limited collimated beam to efficiently transfer the metrology laser between spacecraft, and to receive the incoming light from the far spacecraft. It transmits and receives simultaneously. The basic optical design and requirements are well understood for a conventional telescope design for imaging applications, but the LISA design is complicated by the additional requirement that the total optical path through the telescope must remain stable at the picometer level over the measurement band during the mission to meet the measurement accuracy. We describe the mechanical requirements for the telescope and the preliminary work that has been done to understand the materials and mechanical issues associated with the design of a passive metering structure to support the telescope and to maintain the spacing between the primary and secondary mirrors in the LISA on-orbit environment. This includes the requirements flowdown from the science goals, thermal modeling of the spacecraft and telescope to determine the expected temperature distribution, layout options for the telescope including an on- and off-axis design. Plans for fabrication and testing will be outlined.
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
8th International LISA Symposium; 28 Jun. - 2 Jul. 2010; Stanford, CA; United States