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Active Optical Devices and Applications. Volume 228

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Conference proceedings

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This seminar was organized to bring together the people in DoD and NASA who are developing and applying the technology of active optics for use in space. In the first two sessions Col. Ronald Prater of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Mr. Thomas Pitts of the USAF Rome Air Development Center organized a presentation of selected results from the DoD sponsored work on the components for active optics. In the third session Mr. Charles Jones of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center organized a presentation of the possible NASA applications of large active optics. In the fourth session we discussed in open forum the priorities among the NASA applications and the means for coordination with DoD. The NASA priorities which emerged were 1 an x-ray telescope of 1.2 meter aperture 2 a 10 to 30 meter diameter telescope for diffraction limited imaging at 30 microns and longer wavelengths and 3 a 10 to 100 meter diameter thinned aperture optical wavelength telescope that could build two-dimensional resolution by summation of intensity images from a rotating line array of apertures. Treat these priorities as tentative further deliberation among involved parties is necessary. This SPIE seminar was especially timely because NASA today has a resurgence of interest in large optics, stimulated by the astronomers in the Office of Space Science. Many years ago, NASA pioneered in active optics by funding at Perkin-Elmer from 1964 to 1970 a three-segment mirror and then a 58 actuator 30 inch shell mirror which achieved a visually spectacular two diffraction ring performance. After 1970 NASA concentrated on getting the space telescope started. Space telescope is now being built and will carry 24 actuators for its primary mirror. Now NASA is looking ahead to the next plateau for astronomical telescopes in space, and this seminar was a step toward that future.

Subject Categories:

  • Astronomy
  • Optics

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