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SPIE Professional October 2012

MIT researchers win Kingslake Award for modeling space telescope design

SPIE members Lucy Cohan and David Miller of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) have been selected as recipients of the 2011 Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize, awarded annually to the authors of the most noteworthy original paper published in Optical Engineering, SPIE's flagship journal.

Their winning paper, published in the June 2011 issue, is titled "Integrated modeling for design of lightweight, active mirrors." It introduces a new approach to optimizing resolution and sensitivity of space-based imaging systems using an integrated modeling system for lightweight active-mirror design that employs silicon carbide.

The challenge, however, is developing a design that balances the stresses of launch on the materials while maintaining optimal on-orbit performance. Cohan and Miller confront the challenge using an integrated modeling system that determines the design space and error limits as well as sustainability during the launch process.

Parameters of the model reflect different designs and incorporate critical metrics such as mass, volume, flexibility, and correction ability of the apertures while in orbit.

Finally, a tradespace analysis determines which features of the design space can be manipulated to optimize performance for specific missions, making Cohan and Miller’s findings important and widely applicable to space-based optical-imaging systems.

Calling the paper "one of the most comprehensive works" on space telescope design modeling, SPIE member Tomasz Tkaczyk, chair of the Kingslake Award Committee, commented, "Their work on modeling for design of lightweight, active mirrors for space telescopes will help us take the next steps in our quest for understanding of the universe."

David Miller Miller is a professor, director of the Space Systems Laboratory, and the head of the Systems Sector in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. He has three degrees from MIT and has authored nearly 60 papers in SPIE publications and at SPIE conferences.

Cohan, a post-doctoral research fellow in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, received a BS from Cornell University in 2005 and her PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT in 2010. Lucy CohanShe has presented and published several papers at SPIE Optics + Photonics and SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation.

Cohan accepted the award, which includes a US $2,000 honorarium, at SPIE Optics + Photonics on behalf of both researchers.

To view the paper in the SPIE Digital Library: dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3592520

SPIE seeks nominations for annual awards

SPIE presents several yearly awards that recognize outstanding individual and team technical accomplishments and meritorious service to the Society, and invites nominations from the community.

Nominations may be made through 1 October and are considered active for three years from the submission date.

More information: spie.org/awards.

Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at spieprofessional@spie.org.

To receive a print copy of SPIE Professional, the SPIE member magazine, become an SPIE member.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201210.20

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