Successful launch and imagery from the Herschel Space Telescope has demonstrated a nominally in focus telescope.
There still remains a discrepancy between the prediction and measurement of the telescope back focal length prior to
launch. New material strain data has been applied to the structural/optical model of the telescope. The new data
significantly closed the gap between the previous optical test measurement and prediction. However, a discrepancy still
exists. Model results and techniques will be presented and discussed.
The Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph (TPF-C) is conducting pre-formulation design and analysis studies based on a 8x3.5m elliptical aperture, light-weight primary mirror feeding an internally occulted (Lyot) coronagraph. The primary mirror has challenging static and dynamic performance requirements. We report on recent trade studies and concepts including open- and closed-back mirror blank designs and comparisons of thermal and mechanical performance; aperture shape alternatives to better match the coronagraph application with weight, packaging, and fabrication constraints; and mirror material trades.
Detection of extrasolar planets should be possible with a telescope that has the required resolution and a coronagraph to block the starlight. The resolution that is needed suggests that the diameter of the primary mirror be at least 6 m. For use in space, the mirror would need to be moderately lightweighted, with an areal density of roughly 50 kg/m2 or lower. Most important is the surface quality of the mirror over the spatial frequency range of roughly 10 cm to 4 m. A ripple in the surface of the mirror, with a spatial scale in this range, would cause starlight to diffract onto the region where a planet may be located. In terms of an rms surface error the mirror would need to be better than 5 nm rms in this range. The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) project realized that to demonstrate that a coronagraphic telescope concept could be used for terrestrial planet detection there needs to be a demonstration that a mirror of the required technology could be built. There are several concepts that could be used for designing and fabricating such a mirror but in order to select the most promising technology a survey of the best mirror concepts from the best large mirror builders was needed. This paper describes what was learned from this study and the rational for the mirror concept that was selected.
This paper and oral presentation will describe the technology studies, the testbeds, and the architecture studies that will enhance the understanding and viability of a Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph.
Topics to be described fall in two categories: technology development and coronagraph mission design. The focus of the paper will be explanation of the tasks, their organization and current status.
The Herschel Space Observatory (formerly known as FIRST) consists of a 3.5 m space telescope. Stitching sub aperture interferograms may offer considerable cost savings during testing of the flight telescope as compared to other techniques. A comparative demonstration is presented of interferogram stitching techniques that enable a composite map of a 3-D surface to be assembled from a sequence of sub-aperture measurements. This paper describes the fundamental procedures for stitching together component data sets and demonstrates such techniques with real data sets. A set of 14 sub-aperture measurements was made of a 2 m diameter all-composite mirror developed as part of the Herschel Space Observatory program and two different stitching software packages were employed to stitch together the sub-aperture surface maps. The software packages differ fundamentally in the way the sub-aperture maps are three-dimensionally stitched, one employing a local technique and the other using a global technique. The processed results from both algorithms are compared with each other and with a full-aperture reference measurement made of the same test optic. A summary of the results is presented and potential modifications and enhancements to the stitching techniques are discussed.
The Herschel Space Observatory (formerly known as FIRST) consists of a 3.5 m space telescope. As part of a JPL- funded effort to develop lightweight telescope technology suitable for this mission, COI designed and fabricated a spherical, F/1, 2 m aperture prototype primary mirror using solely carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) materials. To assess the performance of this technology, optical metrology of the mirror surface was performed from ambient to an intended operational temperature for IR-telescopes of 70K. Testing was performed horizontally in a cryogenic vacuum chamber at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), Tennessee. The test incorporated a custom thermal shroud, a characterization and monitoring of the dynamic environment, and a stress free mirror mount. An IR-wavelength phase shifting interferometer (IR PSI) was the primary instrument used to measure the mirror surface. From an initial surface figure of 2.1 microns RMS at ambient, a modest 3.9 microns of additional RMS surface error was induced at 70K. The thermally induced error was dominated by low-order deformations, of the type that could easily be corrected with secondary or tertiary optics. In addition to exceptional thermal stability, the mirror exhibited no significant change in the figure upon returning to room temperature.
The effects of specific aberrations on the optical performance of the all-composite design for the Herschel Space Observatory are examined. A review of the all-composite design for the large aperture (3.5 m) telescope that satisfies the target specifications is presented. Cyrogenic experiments with a carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) 2 m demonstration mirror have yielded empirical bounds on the high- and low-order spatial frequency aberrations that will be anticipated in the full 3.5 m Ritchey-Chretien telescope design. Detailed analysis is presented on the effect of the low order aberrations of the primary mirror on the system wavefront error and encircled energy. Predictable limits of correction via low order shaping of the secondary mirror are described. The impact of higher order surface errors on the encircled energy and the stray light will also be presented. Comments are made regarding the impact of the optical prescription and CRFP design on flight telescope testing.
The Herschel Space Observatory (formerly known as FIRST) consists of a 3.5 m space telescope designed for use in the long IR and sub-millimeter wavebands. To demonstrate the viability of a carbon fiber composite telescope for this application, Composite Optics Incorporated (COI) manufactured a fast (F/1), large (2 m), lightweight (10.1 kg/m2) demonstration mirror. A key challenge in demonstrating the performance of this novel mirror was to characterize the surface accuracy at cryogenic (70 K) temperatures. A wide variety of optical metrology techniques were investigated and a brief survey of empirical test results and limitations of the various techniques will be presented in this paper. Two complementary infrared (IR) techniques operating at a wavelength of 10.6 microns were chosen for further development: (1) IR Twyman-Green Phase Shifting Interferometry (IR PSI) and (2) IR Shack-Hartmann (IR SH) Wavefront Sensing. Innovative design modifications made to an existing IR PSI to achieve high-resolution, scannable, infrared measurements of the composite mirror are described. The modified interferometer was capable of measuring surface gradients larger than 350 microradians. The design and results of measurements made with a custom-built IR SH Wavefront Sensor operating at 10.6 microns are also presented. A compact experimental setup permitting simultaneous operation of both the IR PSI and IR SH tools is shown. The advantages and the limitations of the two key IR metrology tools are discussed.
In the light of the recent successes in utilizing CFRP composites for fabrication of ultra-lightweight, micron- accuracy reflectors for space telescopes, this paper provides a recent assessment of the main factors influencing dimensional stability of composites. Two recent examples of all-composites reflector designs that demonstrate the validity of the composites choice for this type of space applications are presented.
Composite materials are an ideal choice for the FIRST Telescope, since they provide dimensional stability, excellent stiffness to weight ratios, near zero thermal expansion, and manufacturing flexibility. The most challenging aspect of producing an all-composite FIRST telescope, is the development of the lightweight primary mirror. The design of the primary mirror must satisfy requirements for surface accuracy to operating temperatures of 80 +/- K as well as stiffness and strength considerations during launch.
The FIRST telescope will be made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The optics follow a two mirror near-classical Ritchey-Chretian design, but deviates from that in two respects. The secondary mirror defines the pupil of the system, and the primary mirror is uncommonly fast at f/0.5. After presenting the optical design, the sensitivities will be presented. Current work in progress will be described in the following areas; (1) secondary mirror figure correction (2) stray light (3) primary mirror gaps (4) standing wave impact on the heterodyne instrument for FIRST (HIFI).
The Far Infrared and Submillimeter Telescope (FIRST), is an ESA cornerstone mission, that will be used for photometry, imaging and spectroscopy in the 80 to 670 micrometer range. NASA, through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), will be contributing the telescope and its design to ESA. This paper will discuss the work being done by JPL and Composite Optics, Incorporated (COI), the developer of the primary mirror technology. Optical and mechanical constraints for the telescope have been defined by ESA and evolved from their trade studies. Design drivers are wave front error (10 micrometer rms with a goal of 6 micrometer rms), mass (260 kg), primary mirror diameter (3.5 m) and f number (f/0.5), and the operational temperature (less than 90 K). In response to these requirements a low mass, low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) telescope has been designed using carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP). This paper will first present background on the JPL/COI CFRP mirror development efforts. After selection of the material, the next two steps, that are being done in parallel, are to demonstrate that a large CFRP mirror could meet the requirements and to detail the optical, thermal and mechanical design of the telescope.
Results are presented of a thermal design optimization study of the segmented GFRP primary reflector of the earth-orbiting Submillimeter Imager and Line Survey telescope. The paper examines the thermal requirements of the primary reflector and the thermal environment of the telescope and describes the thermal design of the primary reflector. Particular attention is given to the geometric math model and the thermal math model of the telescope. A summary for the steady-state thermal performance of the optimized design is presented, showing that the optimized design has reduced, by an order of magnitude, structural spatial temperature gradients, which were earlier shown to be the most significant obstacle in maintaining the required telescope figure accuracy.