Optical design of giant telescopes for space

J. H. Burge, E. Sabatke, J. R.P. Angel, N. J. Woolf

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Increased performance for optical telescopes has historically come from larger apertures, from technological advances for the telescope components, such as detectors, and from access to better sites, such as space. Little has changed in the basic telescope design for a century. These conventional designs have served us well and will continue to do so with the Next Generation Space Telescope. There is an upper limit to the size of this type of telescope, set by the capacity to launch the required mass. For future space telescopes of 50, 100, 500 meter apertures, we have developed a new type of optical design. We use a primary reflector made from segments of flat and near-flat membranes. The secondary reflector and subsequent optics are supported in separate spacecraft, flying in formation with the primary reflector. In addition, each spacecraft maintains sunshields to keep the optics shaded from the sun. This paper explores optical design issues for this type of giant space telescope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-93
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
EventNovel Optical Systems Design and Optimization III - San Diego, USA
Duration: Jul 31 2000Aug 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical design of giant telescopes for space'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this