A Feasibility Study of Thin-Shell Deformable Mirrors with Adaptive Truss Support for Spaced-Based Telescopes

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Marzette, Russell K., Jr.
Lipkin, Harvey
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Space-based telescopes are limit by the payload requirements of existing launch vehicles. Thus, despite distinct advantages the resolution of terrestrial telescopes exceeds space-based telescopes due to larger size and powerful adaptive optics. To overcome payload limitations, a primary mirror technology that is lighter in weight, but no less effective, is required. As this will result in new structural conditions, new approaches to maintaining the optical shape (figure) of the mirror will also be required. This thesis culminates work at the Georgia Institute of Technology in modelling a hexagonal thin-shell deformation mirror manipulated by an adaptive truss. This research specifically examines the feasibility of a surface parallel actuated (SPA) thin-shell CuZr deformable mirror (DM) as an alternative to a typical surface normal actuated (SNA) based mirror. It is believed that by using a thin-shell mirror (100 m or less in thickness) with a light weight substrate, such as a truss, that a significant weight-savings will occur, thus enabling larger space based telescopes. This thesis advances the SPA DM concept by 1) creating a representative model, 2) developing design evaluation methods, 3) evaluating the FEA simulated response of the deformable mirror over Zernike error modes, 4) evaluating the FEA simulated response to select thermal loads, and 5) evaluating the ability of the DM to remove thermal error, and the forces required to do so. Finally, it is concluded that overall the SPA DM concept is feasible.
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