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Proceedings Paper

Silicon carbide lightweight telescopes for advanced space applications
Author(s): Michael I. Anapol; Richard R. Glasheen
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Paper Abstract

A wide range of space-borne measurement applications require very lightweight, reflective telescopes with wide wavelength coverage, capable of near diffraction limited image quality operating over wide temperature ranges and gradients. These desired features are becoming increasingly more important for future space hardware, especially for 'LIGHTSAT' and 'MICROSAT' applications. A silicon carbide (SiC) based telescope is an extremely attractive emerging technology which offers (1) the lightweight and stiffness features of beryllium, (2) the optical performance of glass to diffraction limited visible resolution, (3) superior optical/thermal stability to cryogenic temperatures, and (4) the cost advantages and rapid, commercial fabrication processes of aluminum. This paper describes SSG, Inc. hardware status in very lightweight SiC athermal telescope systems (mirrors and structure) for a wide range of space applications including NASA scientific and remote sensing missions. Status on several SiC mirror and telescope hardware is presented, including a 50 cm very lightweight scan mirror for a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, or 'GOES'-type mission; a 20 cm aperture diameter, 4-mirror off-axis optical system weighing less than 2 kg; and a 50 cm on-axis, 30-mirror re-imaging telescope weighing less than 16 kg. Specifically, data is presented on the optical/thermal stability performance of SiC mirror and telescope hardware to cryogenic temperatures, as well as environmental qualification test results. For example, our test results show less than 0.25 wave peak-valley (p-v) in visible wavefront change (current noise floor), and no hysteresis from ambient to less than 100 degree(s)K temperature for mirrors and complete telescope assemblies.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 September 1994
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 2210, Space Optics 1994: Space Instrumentation and Spacecraft Optics, (30 September 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.188097
Show Author Affiliations
Michael I. Anapol, Sensor Systems Group, Inc. (United States)
Richard R. Glasheen, Sensor Systems Group, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2210:
Space Optics 1994: Space Instrumentation and Spacecraft Optics
Thierry M. Dewandre; Joachim J. Schulte-in-den-Baeumen; Emmanuel Sein, Editor(s)

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