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Proceedings Paper

Process of constructing a lightweight x-ray flight mirror assembly
Author(s): Ryan S. McClelland; Michael P. Biskach; Kai-Wing Chan; Rebecca A Espina; Bruce R. Hohl; Timo T. Saha; William W. Zhang
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Paper Abstract

Lightweight and high resolution optics are needed for future space-based x-ray telescopes to achieve advances in highenergy astrophysics. NASA’s Next Generation X-ray Optics (NGXO) project has made significant progress towards building such optics, both in terms of maturing the technology for spaceflight readiness and improving the angular resolution. Technology Development Modules (TDMs) holding three pairs of mirrors have been regularly and repeatedly integrated and tested both for optical performance and mechanical strength. X-ray test results have been improved over the past year from 10.3 arc-seconds Half Power Diameter (HPD) to 8.3 arc-seconds HPD. A vibration test has been completed to NASA standard verification levels showing the optics can survive launch and pointing towards improvements in strengthening the modules through redundant bonds. A Finite Element Analysis (FEA) study was completed which shows the mirror distortion caused by bonding is insensitive to the number of bonds. Next generation TDMs, which will demonstrate a lightweight structure and mount additional pairs of mirrors, have been designed and fabricated. The light weight of the module structure is achieved through the use of E-60 Beryllium Oxide metal matrix composite material. As the angular resolution of the development modules has improved, gravity distortion during horizontal x-ray testing has become a limiting factor. To address this issue, a facility capable of testing in the vertical orientation has been designed and planned. Test boring at the construction site suggest standard caisson construction methods can be utilized to install a subterranean vertical vacuum pipe. This facility will also allow for the testing of kinematically mounted mirror segments, which greatly reduces the effect of bonding displacements. A development platform demonstrating the feasibility of kinematically mounting mirror segments has been designed, fabricated, and successfully tested.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 July 2014
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9144, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 914441 (31 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056820
Show Author Affiliations
Ryan S. McClelland, SGT, Inc. (United States)
Michael P. Biskach, SGT, Inc. (United States)
Kai-Wing Chan, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County (United States)
Rebecca A Espina, SGT, Inc. (United States)
Bruce R. Hohl, SGT, Inc. (United States)
Timo T. Saha, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
William W. Zhang, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9144:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray
Tadayuki Takahashi; Jan-Willem A. den Herder; Mark Bautz, Editor(s)

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