12 December 2003 Reducing the cost (and increasing the availability) of low-expansion fused glass mirror blanks
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Abstract
For many years, lightweighted sandwich-style mirror blanks made from Corning's Ultra-Low Expansion glass (ULE) have been used in space telescope systems that demand superior optical performance. Despite the superior performance of this technology, the historically high cost and long schedule to procure such a blank has limited their use to only the most elite missions. Future missions, such as JWST, will seek to dramatically reduce the historical cost/schedule paradigm for ULE blanks by capitalizing on economies-of-scale associated with a multi-segment design. However, for this blank technology to become accessible to a broader range of missions, fundamental changes in technical and business approaches are needed. Over the last four years, ATK COI has worked to develop the requisite technologies to produce ULE mirror blanks in-house, with an emphasis on reducing cost and schedule. Our focus has been in three areas: process development to enable reclamation of ULE glass residuals, glass fusion process qualification, and tooling cost reduction. The status of each of these areas is presented, and conclusions drawn about possible future costs of lightweight ULE mirror blanks.
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Steven J. Connell, Steven J. Connell, B. Griffith, B. Griffith, Dan R. Federico, Dan R. Federico, Gregory V. Mehle, Gregory V. Mehle, "Reducing the cost (and increasing the availability) of low-expansion fused glass mirror blanks", Proc. SPIE 5179, Optical Materials and Structures Technologies, (12 December 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.521324; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.521324
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