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Proceedings Paper

GISMO, an ELT in space: a giant (30-m) far-infrared and submillimeter space observatory
Author(s): Timothy G. Hawarden; Callum Johnstone; Graeme Johnstone
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Paper Abstract

We describe GISMO, a concept for a 30-m class achromatic diffractive Fesnel space telescope operating in the far-IR and submillimeter from ~20 μm to ~700 μm. The concept is based on the precepts of Hyde (1999). It involves two units, the Lens and Instrument spacecraft, 3 km apart in a halo orbit around the Earth-Sun L2 point. The primary lens, L1, is a 30.1-m, 32-zone f/100 Fresnel lens, fabricated from ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE). It is 1.0 to 3.4 mm thick (the features are 2.4 mm high for a "design wavelength" of 1.2 mm) and made in 5 strips linked by fabric hinges. It is stowed for launch by folding and rolling. It is deployed warm, unrolled by pneumatic or mechanical means, unfolded by carbon-fiber struts with Shape Memory Alloy hinges and stiffened until cold by a peripheral inflatable ring. Re-oriented edgeways-on to the Sun behind a 5-layer sunshade, L1 will then cool by radiation to space, approaching ~10K after 200 - 300 days. The low equilibrium temperature occurs because the lens is very thin and has a huge view factor to space but a small one to the sunshade. The Instrument spacecraft resembles a smaller, colder (~4K) version of the James Webb Space Telescope and shares features of a concept for the SAFIR mission. A near-field Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 3-segment off-axis 6m x 3m primary acts as field lens, re-imaging L1 on a 30-cm f/1 Fresnel Corrector lens of equal and opposite dispersion, producing an achromatic beam which is directed to a focal plane equipped with imaging and spectroscopic instruments. The "design wavelength" of the telescope is 1.2 mm and it is employed at its second and higher harmonics. The shortest wavelength, ~20μm, is set by the transmission properties of the lens material (illustrated here) and determines the design tolerances of the optical system. The overall mass is estimated at ~5 tonnes and the stowed length around 14 m. Technical challenges and areas of uncertainty for the design concept are highlighted. An assessment of the likely performance suggests that, if these can be resolved, GISMO will address most science goals in these crucial wavelength ranges at least as well as any other proposed mission in this wavelength range, and may well be achievable at a lower cost and on a shorter timescale.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 July 2004
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5382, Second Backaskog Workshop on Extremely Large Telescopes, (7 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.566110
Show Author Affiliations
Timothy G. Hawarden, UK Astronomy Technology Ctr. (United Kingdom)
Callum Johnstone, Robert Gordon's College (United Kingdom)
Graeme Johnstone, Robert Gordon's College (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5382:
Second Backaskog Workshop on Extremely Large Telescopes
Arne L. Ardeberg; Torben Andersen, Editor(s)

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