From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2017
Microsatellite market requires high performance while minimizing mass, volume and cost. Telescopes are specifically targeted by these trade-offs. One of these is to use the optomechanical structure of the telescope to mount electronic devices that may dissipate heat. However, such approach may be problematic in terms of distortions due to the presence of high thermal gradients throughout the telescope structure. To prevent thermal distortions, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) technology can be used for the optomechanical telescope material structure. CFRP is typically about 100 times less sensitive to thermal gradients and its coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) is about 200 to 600 times lower than standard aluminum alloys according to inhouse measurements. Unfortunately, designing with CFRP material is not as straightforward as with metallic materials. There are many parameters to consider in order to reach the desired dimensional stability under thermal, moisture and vibration exposures. Designing optomechanical structures using CFRP involves many challenges such as interfacing with optics and sometimes dealing with high CTE mounting interface structures like aluminum spacecraft buses. INO has designed a CFRP sandwich telescope structure to demonstrate the achievable performances of such technology. Critical parameters have been optimized to maximize the dimensional stability while meeting the stringent environmental requirements that microsatellite payloads have to comply with. The telescope structure has been tested in vacuum from -40°C to +50°C and has shown a good fit with finite element analysis predictions.
N. Desnoyers, P. Goyette, B. Leduc, and M.-A. Boucher, "Dimensional stability performance of a CFRP sandwich optical bench for microsatellite payload," Proc. SPIE 10372, Material Technologies and Applications to Optics, Structures, Components, and Sub-Systems III, 103720G (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 07, 2017; Published: 5 September 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2274311.
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