29 July 2016 The Configurable Aperture Space Telescope (CAST)
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Abstract
The Configurable Aperture Space Telescope, CAST, is a concept that provides access to a UV/visible-infrared wavelength sub-arcsecond imaging platform from space, something that will be in high demand after the retirement of the astronomy workhorse, the 2.4 meter diameter Hubble Space Telescope. CAST allows building large aperture telescopes based on small, compatible and low-cost segments mounted on autonomous cube-sized satellites. The concept merges existing technology (segmented telescope architecture) with emerging technology (smartly interconnected modular spacecraft, active optics, deployable structures). Requiring identical mirror segments, CAST’s optical design is a spherical primary and secondary mirror telescope with modular multi-mirror correctors placed at the system focal plane. The design enables wide fields of view, up to as much as three degrees, while maintaining aperture growth and image performance requirements. We present a point design for the CAST concept based on a 0.6 meter diameter (3 x 3 segments) growing to a 2.6 meter diameter (13 x 13 segments) primary, with a fixed Rp=13,000 and Rs=8,750 mm curvature, f/22.4 and f/5.6, respectively. Its diffraction limited design uses a two arcminute field of view corrector with a 7.4 arcsec/mm platescale, and can support a range of platescales as fine as 0.01 arcsec/mm. Our paper summarizes CAST, presents a strawman optical design and requirements for the underlying modular spacecraft, highlights design flexibilities, and illustrates applications enabled by this new method in building space observatories.
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Kimberly Ennico, Eduardo A. Bendek, Dana H. Lynch, Kenny K. Vassigh, Zion Young, "The Configurable Aperture Space Telescope (CAST)", Proc. SPIE 9904, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 99041H (29 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233149; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233149
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