Distributed FX-architecture (DiFX) is a software Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) correlator currently adopted by several main correlation sites around the globe. After the launch of the RadioAstron
Space-VLBI mission in 2011, an extension was necessary to handle processing of an orbiting antenna, to be correlated with supporting ground arrays. Here, we present a branch of the main DiFX distribution (2.4), uploaded on the publicly available repository during July 2016, that the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) developed to process data of the three key active galactic nuclei (AGN)-imaging RadioAstron
science projects, as well as part of the AGN survey project, and General Observing Time (GOT) projects proposed since Announcement of Opportunity 2 (AO-2, July 2014–July 2015). It can account for general relativistic correction of an orbiting antenna with variable position/velocity, providing a routine to convert the native RadioAstron
Data Format (RDF) format to the more common Mark5 B (M5B). The possibility of introducing a polynomial clock allows one to mitigate the effects of spacecraft acceleration terms in near-perigee observations. Additionally, since for the first time polarimetry on space-baselines is available thanks to RadioAstron
, this DiFX branch allows one to include the spacecraft orientation information at the correlation stage, in order to perform proper polarization calibration during data reduction. Finally, a fringe-finding algorithm able to manage an arbitrarily large fringe-search window is included, allowing one to increase the search space normally adopted by common software packages like HOPS.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited