Starshade drone

A star coronograph with propellers. Trying to see the light of extra-solar planets from your backyard.

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NASA is planning to fly in tandem with the WFIRST telescope a Starshade to occult the light of the stars being observed, enabling the space telescope to see reflected light from the vicinity of those stars (Planets!! Dyson swarms!!).

But everything you do in space, you can do on earth (within the restrictions that gravity and the atmosphere place you). see

I propose to build a drone with a starshade that will fly and hover in a designated position to generate a star occultation for a telescope or a group of telescopes, in an attempt to separate light from a star and its vicinity.

Project goals:

- A system of precise positioning between the Starshade drone and the telescope base station within a 3km sphere.

- Software to discern perturbations on the drone's hover and correct them in real-time.

- Passive/dynamic Starshades: experimenting several configurations and ideas for Starshades. Passive shapes that minimize star light and a dynamic starshade based on a LCD screen that would optimize in real-time the shape and position of the starshade.


Northrop Grumman 1/3/2016 public report on developing starshade's on the ground.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 12.10 MB - 07/09/2016 at 01:59



Talk presentation on 5/27-6/3 2015 field testing a starshade.

application/pdf - 11.82 MB - 07/09/2016 at 01:58


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Andre Esteves wrote 10/05/2016 at 23:12 point

A good point. Starting with standard and convenient hardware enables us to establish the operational conditions. Pushing that envelope will be on a next drone iteration.

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PointyOintment wrote 10/05/2016 at 22:16 point

I am concerned that the starshade will have very large aerodynamic drag, resulting in the drone being blown around by even light winds.

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