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Proceedings Paper

Progress toward large-aperture membrane mirrors
Author(s): James R. Rotge; Shiv C. Dass; Dan K. Marker; Richard A. Carreras; Brian J. Lutz; Dennis C. Duneman
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Paper Abstract

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is exploring the feasibility of large-aperture, deployable, space-based membrane telescopes operating in the visible and/or near- infrared spectral regions. One of the near-term goals of this work is to develop an understanding of available and achievable membrane materials, specifically concentrating on practical techniques to form large aperture membranes with the necessary surface quality and economy. When this research began a little more than three years ago, the conceptual design was based upon a totally inflatable structure. An inflatable structure has been used for space solar power collection and radio frequency antennas. This totally inflatable lenticular design is simple and relatively easy to demonstrate, but maintaining inflation during an extended lifetime in near-earth orbit may not be feasible. Recently, a new concept for a membrane telescope has emerged which does not depend on sustained inflation during operation. Thin membranes on the order of 10 to 100 micrometer thick will be packaged and deployed, maintaining their surface figure by means other than inflation. Given the fact that the sub- wavelength level surface tolerances required of imaging telescopes will probably not be practical with a membrane- based telescope, such systems will probably rely on real-time holography or some other wavefront correction or compensation technique. We will discuss the primary experimental work ongoing in the AFRL Membrane Mirror Laboratory, and in doing so, some of the issues relevant to demonstrating a practical, large-aperture membrane mirror system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 October 2000
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4091, Imaging Technology and Telescopes, (31 October 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.405801
Show Author Affiliations
James R. Rotge, Boeing Co. (United States)
Shiv C. Dass, Boeing Co. (United States)
Dan K. Marker, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Richard A. Carreras, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Brian J. Lutz, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Dennis C. Duneman, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4091:
Imaging Technology and Telescopes
James W. Bilbro; James B. Breckinridge; Mark J. Eckart; James B. Breckinridge; Richard A. Carreras; Richard A. Carreras; James W. Bilbro; Stanley R. Czyzak; Robert D. Fiete; Mark J. Eckart; Robert D. Fiete; Paul S. Idell, Editor(s)

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