The Planetary Imaging Concept Testbed Using a Rocket Experiment (PICTURE 36.225 UG) was designed
to directly image the exozodiacal dust disk of ǫ Eridani (K2V, 3.22 pc) down to an inner radius of 1.5 AU.
PICTURE carried four key enabling technologies on board a NASA sounding rocket at 4:25 MDT on October
8th, 2011: a 0.5 m light-weight primary mirror (4.5 kg), a visible nulling coronagraph (VNC) (600-750 nm), a
32x32 element MEMS deformable mirror and a milliarcsecond-class fine pointing system.
Unfortunately, due to a telemetry failure, the PICTURE mission did not achieve scientific success. Nonetheless,
this flight validated the flight-worthiness of the lightweight primary and the VNC. The fine pointing system,
a key requirement for future planet-imaging missions, demonstrated 5.1 mas RMS in-flight pointing stability.
We describe the experiment, its subsystems and flight results. We outline the challenges we faced in developing
this complex payload and our technical approaches.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Christopher B. Mendillo ; Brian A. Hicks ; Timothy A. Cook ; Thomas G. Bifano ; David A. Content, et al.
PICTURE: a sounding rocket experiment for direct imaging of an extrasolar planetary environment
", Proc. SPIE 8442, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 84420E (August 22, 2012); doi:10.1117/12.926408; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.926408