Author Topic: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)  (Read 22279 times)

Offline yg1968

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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #21 on: 04/29/2016 04:26 PM »
I heard a fascinating briefing on WFIRST the other day. Part of it had to deal with whether NASA was going to declare this a "Class A" or "Class B" mission. Currently it is being treated as Class B, but a person who was there pointed out that it has attributes that should make it Class A, including $2 billion, international involvement, and a prestige project. I don't know the differences between A and B, but they have to do with the way the agency treats risk and what is and is not acceptable risk. Class A projects are not allowed to have much risk. They're too important.

Offline Star One

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #22 on: 05/04/2016 07:18 PM »
Possibly to be paired with WFIRST.

Quote
The shade, which is about the  size of a baseball diamond, would be deployed as part a single mission. As the video above shows, the large shade would be mounted at the end of a space telescope – in this case, NASA’s upcoming Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) – and then detaches and deploys to a distance of several thousands kilometers in front of it.

Such a large shade operating at such a long distance from of its paired telescope is essential when dealing with distant stars.”Because stars are so far away the angular distance between the planet and star is quite small,” said Kasdin, “requiring a very large starshade (20 to 50 meters in diameter) flying very far from the telescope (up to 50,000 km). Nevertheless, many astronomers believe this is the best technology to detect an Earthlike planet in the near future, a belief aided by the fact that few special requirements are placed on the telescope.”

Paired with other instruments, like spectrometers, devices like the Starshade will not only allow astronomers to be able to spot planets more easily, but also obtain information about their atmospheres. By studying their chemical compositions – i.e. looking for the presence of oxygen/nitrogen, water vapor, etc. – we would be able to tell with a fair degree of certainty whether or not life exists on them.

The Starshade technology is one of the top candidates for a flagship-level mission in the next decade and a top Astro2010 priority for technology development. In addition to working with WFIRST, it is possible it will be paired with missions like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope.

“We are hoping that a starshade capable of Earth detection will be recommended to fly with the upcoming WFIRST mission,” Kasdin added, “allowing the first image of an Earth in the next decade.”

http://www.universetoday.com/128664/starshade-prepares-image-new-earths/

Offline yg1968

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #23 on: 05/07/2016 07:48 PM »
Quote
Right now there are no plans to put a starshade on WFIRST,” says Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division. Instead, he says, the agency is “in a ‘don’t-preclude-a-starshade’ mode.” As it happens, though, not precluding a starshade closely resembles a concerted effort to build and launch one.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-nasa-s-next-big-telescope-could-take-pictures-of-another-earth/

Offline Star One

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Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #24 on: 06/07/2016 04:19 PM »
Reading this article about the Heavy's forthcoming flight if as it says they are going to build all the cores now, store them and then close the line, then there is no mention in the forthcoming manifest of this payload which makes me wonder if WFIRST might be manifested to another launcher.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/06/07/surveillance-satellite-launching-thursday-atop-delta-4-heavy-rocket/
« Last Edit: 06/07/2016 04:21 PM by Star One »

Offline Jim

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #25 on: 06/07/2016 04:55 PM »
Reading this article about the Heavy's forthcoming flight if as it says they are going to build all the cores now, store them and then close the line, then there is no mention in the forthcoming manifest of this payload which makes me wonder if WFIRST might be manifested to another launcher.

NASA hasn't come close to assign any launcher to WFIRST

Offline Star One

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #26 on: 06/07/2016 05:06 PM »
Reading this article about the Heavy's forthcoming flight if as it says they are going to build all the cores now, store them and then close the line, then there is no mention in the forthcoming manifest of this payload which makes me wonder if WFIRST might be manifested to another launcher.

NASA hasn't come close to assign any launcher to WFIRST

Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #27 on: 06/07/2016 06:16 PM »
Reading this article about the Heavy's forthcoming flight if as it says they are going to build all the cores now, store them and then close the line, then there is no mention in the forthcoming manifest of this payload which makes me wonder if WFIRST might be manifested to another launcher.

NASA hasn't come close to assign any launcher to WFIRST


Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

WFIRST launch is currently scheduled for the mid 2020s.  It may be more cost-effective for NASA to let the Delta IV-Heavy "bus" proceed on its final delivery run (the linked article lists 2022 for a final flight), and begin the process of booking a flight on the suitable LV's (and upper stages) that will likely be operating and have a launch record 10 years from now.
Examples:
Vulcan
Falcon Heavy
Other?

Just a thought...
« Last Edit: 06/07/2016 06:37 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Jim

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #28 on: 06/07/2016 07:07 PM »
Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

Doesn't matter
 WFIRST will be designed to fly on an equivalent vehicle.  Much like JWST was.
« Last Edit: 06/07/2016 07:10 PM by Jim »

Offline Star One

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #29 on: 06/07/2016 07:58 PM »
Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

Doesn't matter
 WFIRST will be designed to fly on an equivalent vehicle.  Much like JWST was.

Falcon Heavy seems the obvious choice, would Vulcan have reached the necessary number of flights by then to reassure NASA of its reliability.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #30 on: 06/09/2016 12:26 AM »
Answered my own question on this.

The NRO optics from the canceled FIA optical program was designed to go to a low polar orbit on an Atlas variant. This was instead of the Delta Heavy required for the current/previous generation of optical spy satellites. Since this same (or similar, who knows how much mass has been added and subtracted) payload now needs to get to L2 (was GEO) it needs a bigger rocket. So Delta Heavy or larger makes sense.

Since it is a NASA payload and NASA has to justifying the need for SLS, why hasn't anyone suggested SLS? It doesn't seem a stretch, and the capability overkill should be able to handle any weight growth with out them having to make drastic and costly changes to keep within the capabilities of the Delta Heavy/Falcon Heavy/Vulcan ACES.

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Offline Jim

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #31 on: 06/09/2016 01:18 AM »

Falcon Heavy seems the obvious choice, would Vulcan have reached the necessary number of flights by then to reassure NASA of its reliability.

no, there is no "obvious" choice.  FH is not even on the NASA contract

Offline Fequalsma

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #32 on: 06/09/2016 04:25 AM »
Dwayne -

See Appendix B - (Risk) Classification Considerations for NASA Class A-D Payloads of NPR 8750.4 at:
http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/npg_img/N_PR_8705_0004_/N_PR_8705_0004_.pdf

F=ma

I heard a fascinating briefing on WFIRST the other day. Part of it had to deal with whether NASA was going to declare this a "Class A" or "Class B" mission. Currently it is being treated as Class B, but a person who was there pointed out that it has attributes that should make it Class A, including $2 billion, international involvement, and a prestige project. I don't know the differences between A and B, but they have to do with the way the agency treats risk and what is and is not acceptable risk. Class A projects are not allowed to have much risk. They're too important.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #33 on: 06/09/2016 05:08 PM »
Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

Doesn't matter
 WFIRST will be designed to fly on an equivalent vehicle.  Much like JWST was.

Falcon Heavy seems the obvious choice, would Vulcan have reached the necessary number of flights by then to reassure NASA of its reliability.
Cassini, a flagship mission with RTGs, flew on the first flight of Titan IVB/Centaur.

IIRC, submitting to the NASA &/or USAF procedures to ensure reliability can substitute for some (or all?) previous LV flights before committing a really, really important spacecraft to launch on said vehicle.

SpaceX chose to forego at least some of that process, and have to prove Falcon's reliability via more previous successful flights.

(Our NSF members who LIVE this stuff will be better able to say AND correct me if my knowledge is faulty.)
« Last Edit: 06/09/2016 05:09 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Online Ronsmytheiii

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #34 on: 06/09/2016 05:41 PM »
Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

Doesn't matter
 WFIRST will be designed to fly on an equivalent vehicle.  Much like JWST was.

Speaking of which, I wonder if ESA would be willing to "donate" another Ariane launch for this one just like they did for the JWST.

Offline woods170

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #35 on: 06/09/2016 06:06 PM »
Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

Doesn't matter
 WFIRST will be designed to fly on an equivalent vehicle.  Much like JWST was.

Speaking of which, I wonder if ESA would be willing to "donate" another Ariane launch for this one just like they did for the JWST.
Way too soon for that, given that the size of ESA participation in WFIRST remains to be determined.
http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/wfirst
« Last Edit: 06/09/2016 06:07 PM by woods170 »

Offline baldusi

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #36 on: 06/09/2016 07:13 PM »
Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

Doesn't matter
 WFIRST will be designed to fly on an equivalent vehicle.  Much like JWST was.

Speaking of which, I wonder if ESA would be willing to "donate" another Ariane launch for this one just like they did for the JWST.
When will it launch? Wouldn't Ariane 5 be retired by then?
Also, will it have enough performance? Ariane 5 ECA does 6.6 tonnes to L2 injection, while Atlas V 551 does 6.1t and DIVH can do at least 10.1t. Falcon Heavy should be able to do at least 15t, and Vulcan/ACES 13t.

Offline woods170

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #37 on: 06/09/2016 07:50 PM »
Well it sounds like they might miss the bus when it comes to using the Heavy.

Doesn't matter
 WFIRST will be designed to fly on an equivalent vehicle.  Much like JWST was.

Speaking of which, I wonder if ESA would be willing to "donate" another Ariane launch for this one just like they did for the JWST.
When will it launch? Wouldn't Ariane 5 be retired by then?
Also, will it have enough performance? Ariane 5 ECA does 6.6 tonnes to L2 injection, while Atlas V 551 does 6.1t and DIVH can do at least 10.1t. Falcon Heavy should be able to do at least 15t, and Vulcan/ACES 13t.
With that 2.4 meter primary mirror it sure as hell won't be a light payload. Current weight estimates have already increased over 0.4 metric tons above last year's report and now is at slightly above 5.5 metric tons of (wet) launch weight.
However, these science spacecraft have a tendency to increase in weight significantly during development and IMO WFIRST won't be an exception. Another tendency for this type of science missions is that they are generally several years late compared to early planning. Given that launch is currently estimated in the mid-2020's it would be no surprise that Ariane 5 ECA is no longer around when WFIRST is finally ready for launch.
If and when ESA offers a launch, it will, IMO, be on Ariane 6.

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #38 on: 08/16/2016 03:43 PM »
The National Academies published a midterm assessment of the New Worlds, New Horizons program.

http://www.nap.edu/23560

On the WFIRST front (Chapter 4), it remains a top priority, but there was about a 25% increase in the estimated cost, caused by a significant, but unspecified, increase in the cost of the Delta IV Heavy, among other things, and they are concerned that WFIRST could eat up the budget.

Quote
FINDING 4-2: Because of the risk of cost growth, the concern raised in Evaluation of the Implementation of WFIRST/AFTA that WFIRST could distort the NASA program balance remains a concern. In addition, the delay in the implementation of WFIRST over the schedule anticipated in NWNH means that cost growth in WFIRST would limit options for the next decadal survey.

SpaceNews also has coverage of the midterm assessment.

http://spacenews.com/report-warns-of-wfirst-cost-growth/

Offline redliox

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Re: Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)
« Reply #39 on: 08/16/2016 06:10 PM »
The National Academies published a midterm assessment of the New Worlds, New Horizons program.

http://www.nap.edu/23560

On the WFIRST front (Chapter 4), it remains a top priority, but there was about a 25% increase in the estimated cost, caused by a significant, but unspecified, increase in the cost of the Delta IV Heavy, among other things, and they are concerned that WFIRST could eat up the budget.

A large part was due to WFIRST being switched from geostationary orbit to L2.  The coronagraph was also mentioned, since it wasn't initially part of the recommendation for the mission.  I hope they can keep the mission on better track than the Webb 'scope.  I can understand their concern given the track record of big missions overrunning budgets a lot.
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