12 October 2004 Segmented telescopes for coronagraphs
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Abstract
Use of a deployable telescope will be essential if the full science objectives of the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission are to be achieved with a visible coronagraph, since the largest monolithic mirrors that can be launched into space do not have the spatial resolution required to search the habitable zone around more than ~40 of the nearest stars. Current launch vehicle fairings limit the size of monolithic telescope mirrors to ~4 meters in diameter, or ~3.5-m x 10-m if the mirror is launched standing upright, and the telescope is unfolded after reaching orbit. By comparison, a telescope with two 3.5 x 7 meter segments could be launched and deployed autonomously to provide a 14-m elliptical aperture, and a telescope with six 4-m flat-flat hexagonal segments could be launched and deployed autonomously to provide a near-circular 12-m aperture with a single ring of segments (or 20-m if a second ring is added). Future NASA missions such as LifeFinder and planet imager will also require segmented, deployable telescopes to achieve the necessary collecting area. This paper discusses the issues associated with the use of segmented optics for coronagraphs and potential solutions.
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Charles F. Lillie, Charles F. Lillie, Martin Flannery, Martin Flannery, Dean Dailey, Dean Dailey, } "Segmented telescopes for coronagraphs", Proc. SPIE 5487, Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Space Telescopes, (12 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.552348; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.552348
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