Date

2018

Department or Program

Physics

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

James Battat

Additional Advisor(s)

Kerri Cahoy

Abstract

The Deformable Mirror Demonstration Mission (DeMi) is a 6U cube satellite mission created to demonstrate the use of adaptive optics (AO), specifically a 140 actuator Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) deformable mirror (DM), in space. While AO has been commonly used on ground based telescopes, it has many useful benefits in space. AO can be a critical difference in reaching the necessary contrast, of 1010, to image Earth-like exoplanets. It allows for corrections of optical imperfections and thermal distortions. These correction capabilities also allow launches of cheaper optics, and have further implications for use with inter-satellite laser communication and high energy applications.

DeMi will use a closed-loop adaptive optics system, that incorporates a Shack- Hartmann wavefront sensor (SHWFS), DM, and CMOS cameras, in multiple mission operations to demonstrate the capabilities of this adaptive optics technique. DeMi will launch in to a low-Earth orbit in mid 2019. During its lifetime, DeMi will complete both internal and external observations. The internal observations will use a laser to characterize the DM and test the wavefront correction. The external observations will demonstrate the wavefront correction on stars.

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