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Optical on-board metrology in the Athena x-ray mission

M. Abreu, A. Cabral, J. M. Rebordão, N. M. Gonçalves, S. Mottini, J. Costa Pinto, D. Silva, J. Afonso, I. Matute, D. Oddenino

The advanced telescope for high energy astrophysics (Athena) is an ESA X-ray observatory mission to address the hot and energetic universe theme. The instrument consists of a single x-ray telescope, supported by a large area mirror/ lens based on silicon pore optics technology, which will focus the photon flux alternatively onto two different instruments, 12m away: the wide field imager (WFI) and the x-ray integral field unit (X-IFU). The process of switching the focus between the two instruments is produced by a large hexapod structure that is able to change the pointing of the main mirror and the focus plane position, according to strict operational requirements. In order to verify that the mirror optical axis is perfectly aligned with each of the instruments, the telescope shall be supported by an optical on-board metrology system (OBM) that is able to estimate the telescope pointing with accuracy better than 0.5 arcsec.
The Athena OBM system currently under development is based on the concept of a projective metrology where a pattern of active fiducials point sources is imaged onto an array detector. The position and orientation of the imaged pattern provides the necessary information to reconstruct the fiducial displacements with respect to the calibrated reference points, thus allowing obtaining an estimate of the pointing absolute knowledge error. In the present implementation, the fiducials shall be located close to the instrument’s detectors and will be imaged by a specially designed camera system located at the center of the Athena mirror. In this paper we will present the overall architecture and requirements of the metrology system under development for the Athena x-ray observatory mission.

Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2022: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Jan-Willem A. den Herder, Shouleh Nikzad, Kazuhiro Nakazawa

Proceedings of the SPIE
Volume 12181
2022 August

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia