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3 November 1999 Deployable near-net-shaped membrane optics
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The Air Force Research Laboratory is developing a large space-based optical membrane telescope. When this research began a little more than three years ago, the conceptual design was based upon a totally inflatable structure. An inflatable structure has been used for space solar power collection and radio-frequency antennas. To place the development of the membrane optical telescope in perspective, a short history of past inflatables will be presented. The totally inflatable lenticular design used in a variety of space-based applications in radio and radar antennae, solar power for propulsion applications and solar shields is of particular interest. Recently, a new version of a membrane telescope has emerged. Thin membranes on the order of 10 to 100 micrometers thick will be packaged and deployed without using inflation to maintain the surface figure. The move away from a pure inflatable is driven by several factors, including wavelength-level tolerances required of optical telescopes, even when real-time holography is invoked as the adaptive optics correction technique. Issues that led us to de-emphasize an inflatable, lenticular design and concentrate on a near-net shape film using stress coatings and dual boundary edge control are discussed.
© (1999) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Richard A. Carreras, Dan K. Marker, James R. Rotge, James Michael Wilkes, and Dennis C. Duneman "Deployable near-net-shaped membrane optics", Proc. SPIE 3760, High-Resolution Wavefront Control: Methods, Devices, and Applications, (3 November 1999);


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