A development roadmap for critical technologies needed for TALC: a deployable 20m annular space telescope

  • Astronomy is driven by the quest for higher sensitivity and improved angular resolution in order to detect fainter or smaller objects. The far-infrared to submillimeter domain is a unique probe of the cold and obscured Universe, harboring for instance the precious signatures of key elements such as water. Space observations are mandatory given the blocking effect of our atmosphere. However the methods we have relied on so far to develop increasingly larger telescopes are now reaching a hard limit, with the JWST illustrating this in more than one way (e.g. it will be launched by one of the most powerful rocket, it requires the largest existing facility on Earth to be qualified). With the Thinned Aperture Light Collector (TALC) project, a concept of a deployable 20 m annular telescope, we propose to break out of this deadlock by developing novel technologies for space telescopes, which are disruptive in three aspects: • An innovative deployable mirror whose topology, based on stacking rather than folding, leads to an optimum ratio of collecting area over volume, and creates a telescope with an eight times larger collecting area and three times higher angular resolution compared to JWST from the same pre-deployed volume; • An ultra-light weight segmented primary mirror, based on electrodeposited Nickel, Composite and Honeycomb stacks, built with a replica process to control costs and mitigate the industrial risks; • An active optics control layer based on piezo-electric layers incorporated into the mirror rear shell allowing control of the shape by internal stress rather than by reaction on a structure. We present in this paper the roadmap we have built to bring these three disruptive technologies to technology readiness level 3. We will achieve this goal through design and realization of representative elements: segments of mirrors for optical quality verification, active optics implemented on representative mirror stacks to characterize the shape correction capabilities, and mechanical models for validation of the deployment concept. Accompanying these developments, a strong system activity will ensure that the ultimate goal of having an integrated system can be met, especially in terms of (a) scalability toward a larger structure, and (b) verification philosophy.
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  • Copyright (2016) Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.

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Author:Marc Sauvage, Jérome Amiaux, James Austin, Mara Bello, Giovanni Bianucci, Simon Chesné, Oberto Citterio, Christophe Collette, Sébastien Correia, Gilles A. Durand, Sergio Molinari, Giovanni Pareschi, Yann Penfornis, Giorgia Sironi, Guiseppe Valsecchi, Sven Verpoort, Ulrich Wittrock
DOI of original publication:https://doi/org/10.1117/12.2231867
Parent Title (English):Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, Proc. SPIE
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Date of Publication (online):2016/10/26
Year of first Publication:2016
Provider of the Publication Server:FH Münster - University of Applied Sciences
Release Date:2016/10/26
First Page:99041L
Faculties:Physikingenieurwesen (PHY)
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 62 Ingenieurwissenschaften / 620 Ingenieurwissenschaften und zugeordnete Tätigkeiten
Publication list:Wittrock, Ulrich
Licence (German):License LogoZweitveroeffentlichung