Business

December 9, 2013

Ball Aerospace demonstrates ultra-lightweight telescope technologies for DARPA’s MOIRE program

ball-darpa
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has demonstrated unprecedented telescope technologies using ultra-lightweight polymer membrane optics.

Ball is incrementally demonstrating technology needed to deploy a large, 20-meter-diameter, lightweight space-based telescope in geosynchronous orbit as part of the Membrane Optic Imager Real-time Exploitation program, led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Most recently, Ball completed construction and testing of one-eighth of a 5-meter-diameter annular segmented telescope to verify functionality of the MOIRE design.

“The ground demonstration substantiates that this innovative technology could work on next generation space telescopes to greatly reduce their costs and enable larger telescopes,” said Ball Aerospace President Rob Strain.† “This technology could apply to a wide-range of applications providing various forms of information to a multitude of users.”

The lightweight optics developed under the MOIRE program reduces the mass of large aperture telescopes by† nearly an order of magnitude compared to those with conventional optics.† Since costs scale roughly with spacecraft mass, one key to affordability is minimizing the mass of future space optics.

This technology could lend itself to easily stowed configurations for launch within a payload shroud that could be deployed on orbit.

The telescope concept that Ball developed employs thin (less than 1/1,000th of an inch) transparent membranes etched with a diffraction pattern as the primary optical element used to focus light.

“This is the first design to use transparent membranes on a large scale,” said Aaron Seltzer, director of Advanced Development for Ball Aerospace’s National Defense business unit. “The result is a telescope with exceptionally low mass per unit of collecting area.”

To produce MOIRE’s optical-quality polymer membranes and the precision etching needed to generate the diffraction pattern, Ball worked with NeXolve and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The Ball demonstration telescope uses six primary diffractive optical elements. Additional technologies demonstrated by Ball for the MOIRE telescope include the use of secondary diffractive optical elements to correct chromatic dispersion (e.g. the rainbow effect visible on the reverse side of a DVD); stability of the membranes; and the use of laser metrology and active optics to align the primary and secondary optics.

Following the successful ground-based proof of concept for MOIRE, the Ball team intends to pursue additional funding to move the technology forward.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>