Abstract

To increase the spatial resolution while circumventing the problems of increased mass and volume of monolithic telescopes, a Fizeau imaging interferometer testbed (FIIT) with three individual subtelescopes was designed and constructed for high resolution astronomical observation. FIIT is intended to be mounted on a distributed small-satellite constellation with a formation fly configuration; thus the extremely stable pointing of the subtelescopes is the prerequisite for phased imaging, which is because the satellite suffers from some extent of detrimental jitters and drifts needs to be corrected by FIIT itself. FIIT makes use of a shared tip/tilt detection module with a cross-correlation algorithm, three fast-steering mirrors, and closed-loop control technology for pointing correction of three subtelescopes, which can make sure the images are coaligned for a long period of time used to image some faint astronomical objects. This study gives a detailed description of the detection algorithm of image shifts, the hardware design, and data processing flow, followed by closed-loop experiments of a wide-band white light point source. The results of residual errors on the detection camera and the beam-combining camera demonstrate the performance of the pointing correction function, which is a significant milestone for FIIT.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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