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Proceedings Paper

Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy: Part II. Advanced technologies
Author(s): A. Reinhold Ewald; Alois A. Himmes
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Paper Abstract

In cooperation with NASA, the West German Minister for Research and Technology (BMFT) since 1986 has conducted studies to provide an airborne telescope of 2.5 m aperture for SOFIA, a successor to the extremely successful Gerard Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO). In the decades from the mid-nineties onward, SOFIA could make available a continuing and readily deployable observation platform at heights above 12.5 km for sophisticated instrumentation from the submm well into the optical spectral range. While the planned SOFIA facility is described in part I, here an overview will be given of the technical problems involved in developing a large aperture optical telescope for operation in an open cavity environment of an aircraft flying at high altitude. Issues that have been addressed in the project definition phase comprise the figuring and handling of a 2.7 m thin meniscus mirror with very fast f/ratio 1.2, the novel support system, the design of the telescope assembly using light weight composites, the large spherical bearing and the telescope control and drive system. Some of the aforementioned technicalities are being studied on a subscale level, others still have to mature until the beginning of the development phase.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 1990
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 1236, Advanced Technology Optical Telescopes IV, (1 July 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.19183
Show Author Affiliations
A. Reinhold Ewald, German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) (Germany)
Alois A. Himmes, German Aerospace Research Establishment (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1236:
Advanced Technology Optical Telescopes IV
Lawrence D. Barr, Editor(s)

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