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.


 
 

 

Raytheon wins $46 million contract for South Korean Global Hawk ground stations

Raytheon has been awarded a contract valued at up to $45.7 million by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems for ground segments in support of four Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems recently purchased by the Republic of Korea. Under this contract, Raytheon will deliver one building-based and one mobile ground segment to locations in South Korea. Work...
 
 

TOW 2A RF missiles successfully fired from helicopter

In the first of its kind launch, Raytheon fired tube-launched, optically-tracked, wireless-guided 2A radio frequency practice missiles from an AH-1W Cobra attack helicopter during a December exercise.  Raytheon, working with the Naval Air Systems Command, fired two TOW 2A RF practice missiles at ranges exceeding 2600 meters. The two tests verified the missile’s capability to...
 
 
NG-growler2

Northrop Grumman delivers center/aft ‘shipset’ for first international EA-18G Growler

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman mechanics perform final quality inspections on the center/aft fuselage shipset produced by the company for the first Australian EA-18G Growler. The subassembly will be delivered to B...
 

 

Boeing, ANA finalize order for three 787-10 Dreamliners

Boeing and All Nippon Airways (ANA) today finalized an order for three 787-10 Dreamliners, valued at approximately $900 million at list prices. With this order, originally announced as a commitment in January 2015, ANA becomes Boeing’s newest 787-10 customer and first airline in Asia to operate the entire family of 787 Dreamliners. “We truly appreciate...
 
 

Poland’s MESKO, Raytheon sign second letter of intent

In a move designed to collaborate and share advanced defense technologies, Raytheon’s Missile Systems business signed a Letter of Intent with MESKO, Poland’s leading missile and ammunition manufacturer. Areas of cooperation focus on Raytheon’s solutions for the KRAB howitzer precision fires and new Polish Attack Helicopter, including offset proposals and opportunities for MESK...
 
 

Airbus Group delivers first new UH-72A Lakota for Army initial-entry trainer mission

Airbus Group March 25 delivered to the U.S. Army the first UH-72A Lakota helicopter to come off the Airbus Helicopters Inc. production line configured for the Lakota’s latest mission, as the service’s initial-entry training helicopter. The aircraft will join seven Lakotas previously in the Army inventory that have already been modified to the training configuration...
 




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>