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Proceedings Paper

Optical design of a system using a Fresnel lens that gathers light for a solar concentrator and that feeds into solar alignment optics
Author(s): Gary W. Wilkerson; Vinson B. Huegele
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Paper Abstract

Marshall Space Flight Center has been developing a space deployable, lightweight membrane concentrator to focus energy from the sun into a solar engine while remaining aligned to the sun. For an inner surface, this engine has a cylindrical heat exchanger cavity coaligned to the optical axis; the engine warms gas to propel the spacecraft. The membrane concentrator is a 1727 mm (68.00 in.) diameter, F/1.7 Fresnel lens. This large membrane is made from polyimide and is 0.076 mm (0.0030 in.) thick; it has the Fresnel grooves cast into it. The solar concentrator system has a super fast paraboloid reflector near the lens focus and immediately adjacent to the cylindrical exchanger cavity. The paraboloid collects the wide bandwidth and some of the solar energy scattered by the Fresnel lens. Finally, the paraboloid feeds the light into the cylinder. The Fresnel lens also possesses a narrow annular zone that focuses a reference beam toward four detectors that keep the optical system aligned to the sun; thus, occurs a refracting lens that focuses two places summarized as a composite Fresnel lens for solar concentration and alignment.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 1998
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3482, International Optical Design Conference 1998, (21 September 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.322045
Show Author Affiliations
Gary W. Wilkerson, Micro Craft, Inc. (United States)
Vinson B. Huegele, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3482:
International Optical Design Conference 1998
Leo R. Gardner; Kevin P. Thompson, Editor(s)

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