Current state-of-the-art commercial sensors and actuators do not meet many of NASA's next generation spacecraft and
instrument needs. Nor do they satisfy the DoD needs for satellite missions, especially micro/nano satellite missions. In
an effort to develop advanced optical devices and instruments that meet mission requirements, NASA Langley recently
completed construction of a new cleanroom housing equipment capable of fabricating high performance active optic and
adaptive optic technologies including deformable mirrors, reconfigurable lenses (both refractive and diffractive),
spectrometers, spectro-polarimeters, tunable filters and many other active optic devices. In addition to performance,
these advanced optic technologies offer advantages in speed, size, weight, power consumption, and radiation tolerance.
The active optic devices described in this paper rely on birefringent liquid crystal materials to alter either the phase or
the polarization of the incoming light. Design considerations and performance evaluation results for various NASA
applications are presented. Applications presented will include large space telescopes, optical communications,
spacecraft windows, coronagraphs, and star trackers.