2 August 2014 A deployable, annular, 30m telescope, space-based observatory
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High resolution imaging from space requires very large apertures, such as NASA’s current mission the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which uses a deployable 6.5m segmented primary. Future missions requiring even larger apertures (>>10m) will present a great challenge relative to the size, weight and power constraints of launch vehicles as well as the cost and schedule required to fabricate the full aperture. Alternatively, a highly obscured annular primary can be considered. For example, a 93.3% obscured 30m aperture having the same total mirror area (91m2) as a 10.7m unobscured telescope, can achieve ~3X higher limiting resolution performance. Substantial cost and schedule savings can be realized with this approach compared to fully filled apertures of equivalent resolution. A conceptual design for a ring-shaped 30m telescope is presented and the engineering challenges of its various subsystems analyzed. The optical design consists of a 20X annular Mersenne form beam compactor feeding a classical 1.5m TMA telescope. Ray trace analysis indicates the design can achieve near diffraction limited images over a 200μrad FOV. The primary mirror consists of 70 identical rectangular 1.34x1.0m segments with a prescription well within the demonstrated capabilities of the replicated nanolaminate on SiC substrate technology developed by AOA Xinetics. A concept is presented for the deployable structure that supports the primary mirror segments. A wavefront control architecture consisting of an optical metrology subsystem for coarse alignment and an image based fine alignment and phasing subsystem is presented. The metrology subsystem is image based, using the background starfields for distortion and pointing calibration and fiducials on the segments for measurement. The fine wavefront control employs a hill climbing algorithm operating on images from the science camera. The final key technology required is the image restoration algorithm that will compensate for the highly obscured aperture. The results of numerical simulations of this algorithm will be presented and the signal-tonoise requirements for its successful application discussed. It is shown that the fabrication of the 30m telescope and all its supporting subsystems are within the scope of currently demonstrated technologies. It is also shown that the observatory can be brought to geosynchronous orbit, in its entirety, with a standard launch vehicle.
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Justin J. Rey, Justin J. Rey, Allan Wirth, Allan Wirth, Andrew Jankevics, Andrew Jankevics, Franklin Landers, Franklin Landers, David Rohweller, David Rohweller, C. Bill Chen, C. Bill Chen, Allen Bronowicki, Allen Bronowicki, } "A deployable, annular, 30m telescope, space-based observatory", Proc. SPIE 9143, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 914318 (2 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057182; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057182

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