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Proceedings Paper

Segmented air bearing in micronozzle technology for the project SOFIA
Author(s): Michael Muth; Bernd Schulz
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Paper Abstract

Since 1986 there is a cooperation between NASA and DARA, Germany's space agency, to develop a flying telescope three times the size and ten times the light gathering ability of its predecessor -- the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. This project is called SOFIA -- Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. The 2.5 meter telescope for the visible through the infrared and the sub-millimeter wavelengths to the microwaves will be mounted in a modified Boeing 747-SP with a cavity at the port side behind the wings. It can be opened at stratospheric altitudes of around 41,000 feet, above 99.9 percent of the interfering water vapor. When not in use, the telescope will be sheltered from environment by a door in the fuselage. Vibrations of the aircraft would spoil the telescope's images. Therefore the telescope has to be isolated from the aircraft's structure. One promising solution for the rotational uncoupling is a segmented spherical air bearing with a bearing sphere diameter of 1.2 meter, which carries the telescope on a thin air cushion. In this paper a new technology of air bearings with micro nozzles manufactured with the aid of a laser is presented. The innovation is rooted in the unique combination of excellent static and dynamic characteristics. These types of air bearings were developed at the Lehrstuhl fur Feingeratebau und Mikrotechnik at the Technical University of Munich, and they are produced in series by the AeroLas GmbH, Munich.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 October 1997
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3122, Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing V, (23 October 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.292697
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Muth, AeroLas GmbH (Germany)
Bernd Schulz, Technische Univ. Muenchen (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3122:
Infrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing V
Marija Strojnik; Bjorn F. Andresen, Editor(s)

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