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Published July 23, 2014 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Pre-flight integration and characterization of the SPIDER balloon-borne telescope


We present the results of integration and characterization of the Spider instrument after the 2013 pre-flight campaign. Spider is a balloon-borne polarimeter designed to probe the primordial gravitational wave signal in the degree-scale B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background. With six independent telescopes housing over 2000 detectors in the 94 GHz and 150 GHz frequency bands, Spider will map 7.5% of the sky with a depth of 11 to 14 μK•arcmin at each frequency, which is a factor of ~5 improvement over Planck. We discuss the integration of the pointing, cryogenic, electronics, and power sub-systems, as well as pre-flight characterization of the detectors and optical systems. Spider is well prepared for a December 2014 flight from Antarctica, and is expected to be limited by astrophysical foreground emission, and not instrumental sensitivity, over the survey region.

Additional Information

© 2014 Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). The SPIDER collaboration gratefully acknowledges the support of NASA (award numbers NNX07AL64G and NNX12AE95G), the Lucille and David Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. We thank the JPL Research and Technology Development Fund for advancing detector focal plane technology. W. C. Jones acknowledges the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A. S. Rahlin is partially supported through NASAs NESSF Program (12-ASTRO12R-004). J. D. Soler acknowledges the support of the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013/ERC grant agreement number 267934. Logistical support for this project in Antarctica is provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation through the U.S. Antarctic Program. We would also like to thank the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) staff for their continued outstanding work.

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