University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Building large telescopes in orbit using small satellites

Saunders, Chris, Lobb, Dan, Sweeting, Martin and Gao, Yang (2017) Building large telescopes in orbit using small satellites Acta Astronautica, 141. pp. 183-195.

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

In many types of space mission there is a constant desire for larger and larger instrument apertures, primarily for the purposes of increased resolution or sensitivity. In the Radio Frequency domain, this is currently addressed by antennas that unfold or deploy on-orbit. However, in the optical and infrared domains, this is a significantly more challenging problem, and has up to now either been addressed by simply having large monolithic mirrors (which are fundamentally limited by the volume and mass lifting capacity of any launch vehicle) or by complex ‘semi-folding’ designs such as the James Webb Space Telescope. An alternative is to consider a fractionated instrument which is launched as a collection of individual smaller elements which are then assembled (or self-assemble) once in space, to form a much larger overall instrument. SSTL has been performing early concept assessment work on such systems for high resolution science observations from high orbits (potentially also for persistent surveillance of Earth). A point design of a 25 m sparse aperture (annular ring) telescope is presented. Key characteristics of 1) multiple small elements launched separately and 2) on-orbit assembly to form a larger instrument are included in the architecture. However, on-orbit assembly brings its own challenges in terms of guidance navigation and control, robotics, docking mechanisms, system control and data handling, optical alignment and stability, and many other elements. The number and type of launchers used, and the technologies and systems used heavily affect the outcome and general cost of the telescope. The paper describes one of the fractionated architecture concepts currently being studied by SSTL, including the key technologies and operational concepts that may be possible in the future.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Electronic Engineering
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Saunders, Chris
Lobb, Dan
Sweeting, MartinM.Sweeting@surrey.ac.uk
Gao, YangYang.Gao@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 20 September 2017
DOI : 10.1016/j.actaastro.2017.09.022
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017 IAA. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords : On-orbit assembly; Large telescopes; Fractionated architecture; Space robotics and autonomous systems
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 18 Apr 2018 10:52
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 19:09
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/846258

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year


Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800