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Title: High resolution telescope including an array of elemental telescopes aligned along a common axis and supported on a space frame with a pivot at its geometric center

A large effective-aperture, low-cost optical telescope with diffraction-limited resolution enables ground-based observation of near-earth space objects. The telescope has a non-redundant, thinned-aperture array in a center-mount, single-structure space frame. It employes speckle interferometric imaging to achieve diffraction-limited resolution. The signal-to-noise ratio problem is mitigated by moving the wavelength of operation to the near-IR, and the image is sensed by a Silicon CCD. The steerable, single-structure array presents a constant pupil. The center-mount, radar-like mount enables low-earth orbit space objects to be tracked as well as increases stiffness of the space frame. In the preferred embodiment, the array has elemental telescopes with subaperture of 2.1 m in a circle-of-nine configuration. The telescope array has an effective aperture of 12 m which provides a diffraction-limited resolution of 0.02 arc seconds. Pathlength matching of the telescope array is maintained by a electro-optical system employing laser metrology. Speckle imaging relaxes pathlength matching tolerance by one order of magnitude as compared to phased arrays. Many features of the telescope contribute to substantial reduction in costs. These include eliminating the conventional protective dome and reducing on-site construction activities. The cost of the telescope scales with the first power of the aperture rather than its third powermore » as in conventional telescopes.« less
Inventors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. (San Ramon, CA)
  2. (Danville, CA)
Issue Date:
OSTI Identifier:
868258
Assignee:
United States of America as represented by United States (Washington, DC) LLNL
Patent Number(s):
US 5108168
Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
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