On-Orbit Multi-Field Wavefront Control With a Kalman Filter

A document describes a multi-field wavefront control (WFC) procedure for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on-orbit optical telescope element (OTE) fine-phasing using wavefront measurements at the NIRCam pupil. The control is applied to JWST primary mirror (PM) segments and secondary mirror (SM) simultaneously with a carefully selected ordering. Through computer simulations, the multi-field WFC procedure shows that it can reduce the initial system wavefront error (WFE), as caused by random initial system misalignments within the JWST fine-phasing error budget, from a few dozen um to below 50 nm across the entire NIRCam Field of View, and the WFC procedure is also computationally stable as the Monte-Carlo simulations indicate.

With the incorporation of a Kalman Filter (KF) as an optical state estimator into the WFC process, the robustness of the JWST OTE alignment process can be further improved. In the presence of some large optical misalignments, the Kalman state estimator can provide a reasonable estimate of the optical state, especially for those degrees of freedom that have a significant impact on the system WFE. The state estimate allows for a few corrections to the optical state to push the system towards its nominal state, and the result is that a large part of the WFE can be eliminated in this step. When the multi-field WFC procedure is applied after Kalman state estimate and correction, the stability of fine-phasing control is much more certain.

Kalman Filter has been successfully applied to diverse applications as a robust and optimal state estimator. In the context of space-based optical system alignment based on wavefront measurements, a KF state estimator can combine all available wavefront measurements, past and present, as well as measurement and actuation error statistics to generate a Maximum-Likelihood optimal state estimator. The strength and flexibility of the KF algorithm make it attractive for use in real-time optical system alignment when WFC alone cannot effectively align the system.

This work was done by John Lou, Norbert Sigrist, Scott Basinger, and David Redding of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-45793

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