Demonstrating crucial technology for future space-based gravitational wave detectors
The NASA-provided Space Technology 7 (ST7) payload onboard LPF will demonstrate two critical technologies for future space-based gravitational wave detectors: microthrusters for drag-free control of spacecraft and multi-body control laws for achieving the low acceleration environment necessary for detecting gravitational waves.
ST7 will work in concert with the LTP payload and the LPF spacecraft. The LTP test masses and metrology systems will provide the ST7 Disturbance Reduction System (DRS) with knowledge of the positions and attitudes of the test masses and spacecraft, which ST7-DRS will use to compute the appropriate forces and torques to apply to the spacecraft and test masses. The spacecraft forces and torques will be applied by the ST7 Colloidal Micro-Newton Thruster (CMNT) system while the test mass forces and torques will be applied by the LTP.