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Virtual Telescope for X-Ray Observations

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Document pages: 6 pages

Abstract: Selected by NASA for an Astrophysics Science SmallSat study, The VirtualTelescope for X-Ray Observations (VTXO) is a small satellite mission beingdeveloped by NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and New Mexico StateUniversity (NMSU). VTXO will perform X-ray observations with an angularresolution around 50 milliarcseconds, an order of magnitude better than isachievable by current state of the art X-ray telescopes. VTXOs fine angularresolution enables measuring the environments closer to the central engines incompact X-ray sources. This resolution will be achieved by the use of PhasedFresnel Lenses (PFLs) optics which provide near diffraction-limited imaging inthe X-ray band. However, PFLs require long focal lengths in order to realizetheir imaging performance, for VTXO this dictates that the telescopes opticsand the camera will have a separation of 1 km. As it is not realistic to builda structure this large in space, the solution being adapted for VTXO is toplace the camera, and the optics on two separate spacecraft and fly them information with the necessary spacing. This requires centimeter level control,and sub-millimeter level knowledge of the two spacecrafts relative transverseposition. This paper will present VTXOs current baseline, with particularemphasis on the missions flight dynamics design.

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