Multiple Spacecraft Observatories for 2020 and Beyond: Breaking a Tradition of Four Centuries
Webster Cash (University of Colorado)
Since the time of Galileo, a telescope has been an optic, physically coupled to a detector, pointed at a target. As astronomers ventured into space they largely carried this paradigm with them, building ever more powerful and sophisticated telescopes. But as radio astronomers discovered in the 1950, there comes a time when multiple units must be coupled together in new and innovative ways. I will discuss the impact of formation flying on the next generation of space observatories. Missions such as LISA, New Worlds Observer, MAXIM, SPECS, Stellar Imager and TPF-I are already laying the groundwork for what may become a permanent change in the nature of space observatories.