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Paper: LAGRANGE: LAser GRavitational-wave ANtenna in GEodetic Orbit
Volume: 467, 9th LISA Symposium
Page: 191
Authors: Buchman, S.; Conklin, J. W.; Balakrishnan, K.; Aguero, V.; Alfauwaz, A.; Aljadaan, A.; Almajed, M.; Altwaijry, H.; Saud, T. A.; Byer, R. L.; Bower, K.; Costello, B.; Cutler, G. D.; DeBra, D. B.; Faied, D. M.; Foster, C.; Genova, A. L.; Hanson, J.; Hooper, K.; Hultgren, E.; B; Klavins, A.; Lantz, B.; Lipa, J. A.; Palmer, A.; Plante, B.; Sanchez, H. S.; Saraf, S.; Schaechter, D.; T; Shu, K.; Smith, E.; Tenerelli, D.; Vanbezooijen, R.; Vasudevan, G.; Williams, S. D.; Worden, S. P.; Zhou, J.; Zoellner, A.
Abstract: We describe a new space gravitational wave observatory design called LAG-RANGE that maintains all important LISA science at about half the cost and with reduced technical risk. It consists of three drag-free spacecraft in a geocentric formation. Fixed antennas allow continuous contact with the Earth, solving the problem of communications bandwidth and latency. A 70 mm diameter sphere with a 35 mm gap to its enclosure serves as the single inertial reference per spacecraft, operating in “true” drag-free mode (no test mass forcing). Other advantages are: a simple caging design based on the DISCOS 1972 drag-free mission, an all optical read-out with pm fine and nm coarse sensors, and the extensive technology heritage from the Honeywell gyroscopes, and the DISCOS and Gravity Probe B drag-free sensors. An Interferometric Measurement System, designed with reflective optics and a highly stabilized frequency standard, performs the ranging between test masses and requires a single optical bench with one laser per spacecraft. Two 20 cm diameter telescopes per spacecraft, each with infield pointing, incorporate novel technology developed for advanced optical systems by Lockheed Martin, who also designed the spacecraft based on a multi-flight proven bus structure. Additional technological advancements include updated drag-free propulsion, thermal control, charge management systems, and materials. LAGRANGE subsystems are designed to be scalable and modular, making them interchangeable with those of LISA or other gravitational science missions. We plan to space qualify critical technologies on small and nano satellite flights, with the first launch (UV-LED Sat) in 2013.
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