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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Space active optics: in flight aberrations correction for the next generation of large space telescopes

Paper Abstract

The need for both high quality images and light structures is a constant concern in the conception of space telescopes. In this paper, we present an active optics system as a way to fulfill those two objectives. Indeed, active optics consists in controlling mirrors’ deformations in order to improve the images quality [1]. The two main applications of active optics techniques are the in-situ compensation of phase errors in a wave front by using a corrector deformable mirror [2] and the manufacturing of aspherical mirrors by stress polishing or by in-situ stressing [3]. We will focus here on the wave-front correction. Indeed, the next generation of space telescopes will have lightweight primary mirrors; in consequence, they will be sensitive to the environment variations, inducing optical aberrations in the instrument.

An active optics system is principally composed of a deformable mirror, a wave front sensor, a set of actuators deforming the mirror and control/command electronics. It is used to correct the wave-front errors due to the optical design, the manufacturing imperfections, the large lightweight primary mirrors’ deflection in field gravity, the fixation devices, and the mirrors and structures’ thermal distortions due to the local turbulence [4]. Active optics is based on the elasticity theory [5]; forces and/or load are used to deform a mirror. Like in adaptive optics, actuators can simply be placed under the optical surface [1,2], but other configurations have also been studied: a system’s simplification, inducing a minimization of the number of actuators can be achieved by working on the mirror design [5]. For instance, in the so called Vase form Multimode Deformable Mirror [6], forces are applied on an external ring clamped on the pupil. With this method, there is no local effect due to the application of forces on the mirror’s back face. Furthermore, the number of actuators needed to warp the mirror does not depend on the pupil size; it is a fully scalable configuration.

The insertion of a Vase form Multimode Deformable Mirror on the design of an optical instrument will allow correcting the most common low spatial frequency aberrations. This concept could be applied in a space telescope. A Finite Element Analysis of the developed model has been conducted in order to characterize the system’s behavior and to validate the concept.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2017
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10565, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010, 105651Z (20 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2309120
Show Author Affiliations
M. Laslandes, Lab. d’Astrophysique de Marseille, CNRS, Univ. de Provence (France)
M. Ferrari, Lab. d’Astrophysique de Marseille, CNRS, Univ. de Provence (France)
E. Hugot, Lab. d’Astrophysique de Marseille, CNRS, Univ. de Provence (France)
G. Lemaitre, Lab. d’Astrophysique de Marseille, CNRS, Univ. de Provence (France)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10565:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010
Errico Armandillo; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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