174 Optical systems for space applications

ERG, the producers of the DUOCEL® range of metal foams (see Chapter 2, Section 2.5), exemplify successful applications of these materials in aerospace.* This case study and the next two describe three of these.

Mirrors of all sorts play a key role in space technology. Whether the frequencies are optical, infrared or microwave, precision, low mass and freedom from long-term distortion are primary design constraints. Figure 17.6 shows the basic structure of a DUOCEL-backed composite mirror used by both the Lockheed Missile and Space Co. and the Hughes Aircraft Company Laser Systems Division. The mirror face is stiffened by bonding it to a foam layer backed by a stiff backing plate. The structure is light and very stiff; the all-metal construction gives freedom from long-term distortion.

Optical (and other) systems for space application must retain their precision despite extreme changes in levels of solar energy exposure. Figure 17.7

Figure 17.6 DUOCEL® foamed aluminum used as the structural core of a lightweight composite mirror. (Courtesy of ERG)
Figure 17.7 DUOCEL® foamed aluminum sunshade for an optical telescope. (Courtesy of ERG)

illustrates a DUOCEL foamed aluminum composite sunshade for an optical telescope satellite.

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