Technological developments for ultra-lightweight, large aperture, deployable mirror for space telescopes

Year: 2017

Authors: D’Amato F., Zuccaro Marchi A., Gallieni D., Biasi R., Molina M., Duò F., Ruder N., Salinari P., Lisi F., Riccardi A., Gambicorti L., Simonetti F., Pereira do Carmo J.P.N.

Autors Affiliation: CNR-INO
ADS International

Abstract: The increasing interest on space telescopes for scientific applications leads to implement the manufacturing technology of the most critical element, i.e. the primary mirror: being more suitable a large aperture, it must be lightweight and deployable. The presented topic was originally addressed to a spaceborne DIAL (Differential Absorption LIDAR) mission operating at 935.5 nm for the measurement of water vapour profile in atmosphere, whose results were presented at ICSO 2006 and 2008. Aim of this paper is to present the latest developments on the main issues related to the fabrication of a breadboard, covering two project critical areas identified during the preliminary studies: the design and
performances of the long-stroke actuators used to implement the mirror active control and the mirror survivability to launch via Electrostatic Locking (EL) between mirror and backplane. The described work is developed under the ESA/ESTEC contract No. 22321/09/NL/RA. The lightweight mirror is structured as a central sector surrounded by petals, all of them actively controlled to reach the specified shape after initial deployment and then maintained within specs for the entire mission duration. The presented study concerns: a) testing the Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) backplane manufacturing and EL techniques, with production of suitable specimens; b) actuator design optimisation; c)
design of the deployment mechanism including a high precision latch; d) the fabrication of thin mirrors mockups to validate the fabrication procedure for the large shells.
The current activity aims to the construction of an optical breadboard capable of demonstrating the achievement of all these coupled critical aspects: optical quality of the thin shell mirror surface, actuators performances and back-plane – EL subsystem functionality.

Conference title:

KeyWords: Space telescope, adaptive mirror, LIDAR