Technologies for Astrophysics Missions in 2020
Dennis Ebbets (Ball Aerospace)
Space missions being developed in this decade are pioneering many technological innovations that will be mature and available to enable astrophysics missions next decade. I will cite examples from missions that my company, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., has been involved with. Examples include the deployment and control of segmented optical systems to overcome limitations of launch vehicle fairings, large focal plane arrays for wide fields of view, cryogenic systems for cooling detectors and optical systems, and optical communications to allow very high data transmission rates. Other capabilities that have or will be demonstrated shortly include coordinated operation of multiple spacecraft, sensors and algorithms for proximity operations, and technologies for robotic servicing of observatories in space. Most of these would be applicable to a wide range of mission sizes, from Explorers to Great Observatories.