PALO ALTO, Calif., March 14 -- A NASA Group Achievement Award has been presented to the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) metrology beam launcher development team, a collaboration between the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
SIM, a major observatory in NASA's Origins Program, will be the agency's first space interferometer designed specifically for measuring the positions of stars. SIM is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
The beam launchers enable measurement of the variation of 10-meter optical pathlengths on SIM with accuracy in the tens of picometers. For a sense of scale, a hydrogen atom is about 100 picometers in size. The beam launchers use a technique called heterodyne interferometry to measure optical path length with a beam of infrared laser light. After reflection off of retroreflectors (corner cubes) at the ends of the optical path, the laser light is returned to the beam launcher where it is mixed with a reference signal to produce the measurement of the variation in length of the optical path.
The Lockheed Martin members of the SIM metrology beam launcher development team are: Larry Ames, Willy Anderson, Stephanie Barrett, Robert Barrett, Ray Bell, Robert Benson, Gene Cross, Larry Dries, Kalyan Dutta, Florence Escueta, Margaret Garcia, Dexter Girton, Bau Ho, Todd Kvamme, David Leary, Roger Montross, Patrick Perkins, Mark Scott, Timothy Van Eck and John Woo.
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