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.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

B61 undergoes testing in AEDC wind tunnel

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend Arnold Engineering Development Complex engineers recently joined researchers with Sandia National Laboratories to perform a wind tunnel test on a full-scale mock-up B61. Pictured with the...
 
 

Ingalls Shipbuilding awarded $23.5 million LHA 8 affordability contract

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division has been awarded an affordability design contract for $23.5 million for early industry involvement to reduce the construction and life-cycle cost for the amphibious assault ship LHA 8. “Ingalls Shipbuilding has been constructing large-deck amphibious ships for nearly 50 years, and this contract will build on our company...
 
 

Lockheed Martin on team to provide ISS mission planning support

As part of an SGT, Inc.-led team, Lockheed Martin will provide mission and flight crew operations support to NASA for the International Space Station and future human space exploration. These support services within the Integrated Mission Operations Contract II are critical to the safe operation of all NASA human spaceflight missions. Under IMOC II, Lockheed...
 

 
boeing-israel

Boeing, Jordache’s MG Aviation finalize order for two 787-9 Dreamliners

Boeing and MG Aviation Limited July 16 finalized an order for two additional 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at $499 million at current list prices. The order will support the leasing company’s growing fleet of modern airplanes...
 
 

ASL Aviation Group to procure LM-100J freighters

ASL Aviation Group signed a Letter of Intent with Lockheed Martin to order up to 10 LM-100J commercial freighters during a ceremony in Farnborough, England, July 16. The LM-100J is the civil-certified version of Lockheed Martin’s proven C-130J Super Hercules and is an updated version of the L-100 (or L-382) cargo aircraft. Safair — an...
 
 

ATK, Alenia Aermacchi complete testing on Italian Air Force C-27J

ATK has announced that the ATK and Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi have successfully completed the first phase of ground and flight testing of the fully configured multi-mission MC-27J tactical transport aircraft with the support of the Italian Air Force. The series of tests exceeded all test objectives and demonstrated the accuracy of ATK’s side-mounted GAU-23 30mm cannon....
 




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>