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CSI papers published: Optical design of a modular segmented space telescope

Optical design of a modular segmented space telescope by CSI members Jacob Shapiro, Dean Keithly, Gabriel Soto, Dmitry Savransky and colleagues; email:

Space observatories have many advantages over ground-based telescopes. However, constructing and launching large space telescopes remains a significant challenge. A solution to this problem lies in autonomous, in-space assembly. To gain benefits from efficiencies of scale and mass production, a modular telescope assembled in space can be constructed from identical mirror segments. These identical segments must then be deformed to an appropriate shape in space. This work examines the optical feasibility of such a project, using a 31 meter Ritchey- Chrétien telescope composed of about 1,000 1-m mirrors as a case study. In particular, this work examines the shape of the telescope optics through Zernike decomposition and computes the physical optics propagation of such a system to analyze the resultant PSF with simulation in Zemax OpticStudio.

Jacob Shapiro, Mechanical & Aerospace Engrg
Dean Keithly, Mechanical & Aerospace Engrg
Gabriel Soto, Mechanical & Aerospace Engrg.
Dmitry Savransky, Mechanical & Aerospace Eng.