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Lightweight Lidar Telescopes for Space ApplicationsNASA is intent on exploiting the unique perspective of space-based remote optical instruments to observe and study large-scale environmental processes. Emphasis on smaller and more affordable missions continues to force the remote sensing instruments to find innovative ways to reduce the size, weight, and cost of the sensor package. This is a challenge because many of the proposed instruments incorporate a high quality meter-class telescope that can be a significant driver of total instrument costs. While various methods for telescope weight reduction have been achieved, many of the current approaches rely on exotic materials and specialized manufacturing techniques that limit availability or substantially increase costs. A competitive lightweight telescope technology that is especially well suited to space-based coherent Doppler wind lidar has been developed through a collaborative effort involving NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) through the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) at the Center for Applied Optics (CAO). The new lightweight optics using metal alloy shells and surfaces (LOMASS) fabrication approach is suitable for high quality metal mirrors and meter-class telescopes. Compared to alternative materials and fabrication methods the new approach promises to reduce the areal density of a meter-class telescope to less than 15-kg/sq m; deliver a minimum VIO-RMS surface optical quality; while using commercial materials and equipment to lower procurement costs. The final optical figure and finish is put into the mirrors through conventional diamond turning and polishing techniques. This approach is especially advantageous for a coherent lidar instrument because the reduced telescope weight permits the rotation of the telescope to scan the beam without requiring heavy wedges or additional large mirrors. Ongoing investigations and preliminary results show promise for the LOMASS approach to be successful in demonstrating a novel alternative approach to fabricating lightweight mirrors with performance parameters comparable with the Space Readiness Coherent Lidar Experiment (SPARCLE). Development and process characterization is continuing with the design and fabrication of mirrors for a 25-cm telescope suitable for a lidar instrument.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Peters, Bruce R.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Reardon, P. J.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Amzajerdian, F.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Blackwell, T. S.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 20, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Lidar Remote Sensing for Industry and Environment Monitoring
Volume: 4153
Subject Category
Distribution Limits

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