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Paper: A VLBA Upgrade Conforming to VSOP-2 Specifications
Volume: 402, Approaching Micro-Arcsecond Resolution with VSOP-2: Astrophysics and Technologies
Page: 77
Authors: Romney, J.
Abstract: The VLBA was a major participant in the original VSOP mission. NRAO hopes to play a similar role in the VSOP-2 mission, if commensurate support can be obtained for VLBA operations in such a collaboration. While the VLBA’s original data system is not compatible with the planned VSOP-2 specifications, the current VLBA Sensitivity Upgrade project will produce a new system that is well-matched to VSOP-2. This upgrade involves replacement of the entire data path downstream from the IFs, and includes a digital sub-band processor, a wideband recording system, and a software correlator. The project’s goal is to achieve sustained 4-Gbps operation by 2011, with wideband operation available much earlier for the most scientifically compelling observations. These goals appear to be well matched to the VSOP-2 timeline. This paper presents an overview of the new systems under development, and compares the capabilities of each to the requirements for VSOP-2. Further topics include adaptation of the entire system, and the correlator in particular, to Space VLBI operations, and upgrade aspects that should minimize the data-format incompatibilities that were a substantial difficulty in the first VSOP mission.
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