AdvisorWalker, Christopher K.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoDissertation not available (per author's request)
AbstractAstronomy constantly pushes the limits of technology in order to decipher the workings of the Universe. There is a constant need for higher resolution observations across a wide range of wavelengths, at preferably a minimal cost. The terahertz regime (lambda=100 um to lambda=1000 um) covers a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that is blocked by Earth's atmosphere, which limits observations to high altitude plane and balloon telescopes and space telescopes. These current options limit the resolution achievable due to the size of telescopes that can be launched. This dissertation investigates a new approach, the Large Balloon Reflector (LBR), where a 20 meter diameter spherical balloon can be inflated and used as a 10 meter telescope inside a larger carrier balloon. Detailed in this dissertation are design considerations for the terahertz regime and a series of scaled versions of this balloon concept where I work to develop on-axis spherical corrector designs. Chapters 1 through 6 focus on the LBR designs and their variants, including investigations for a 3 meter rooftop proof of concept model, a 5 meter test flight model, and the final 20 meter LBR. The successful modeling and proof of concepts from the LBR studies then prompted an investigation into a Terahertz Space Telescope (TST), a proposed 20 meter inflatable telescope adapted from the LBR technology. Starting with Chapter7, this dissertation explores the application of using 1 meter diameter inflatable balloons as rapidly deployable communications satellites from standard CubeSats. The concept, design and test results of an electronically steerable line feed antenna array are presented which allows for instantaneous, non mechanical pointing of a 10 GHz signal within a 500 km ground footprint. Alternative uses of the 1 meter inflatable balloon CubeSat are also discussed, such as low cost astronomical galactic plane surveys.
Degree ProgramGraduate College