Space Surveillance Telescope: focus and alignment of a three mirror telescope
Author(s)Woods, Deborah Freedman; Shah, Ronak Y.; Johnson, Julie Anne; Szabo, Alexander; Pearce, Eric C.; Lambour, Richard L.; Faccenda, Walter J.; ... Show more Show less
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The Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) is a three-mirror Mersenne-Schmidt telescope with a 3.5 m primary mirror. It is designed to rapidly scan for space objects, particularly along the geosynchronous belt, approximately 36,000 km above the Earth. The SST has an unusually short focal ratio of F/1.0 and employs a camera composed of curved charge-coupled devices to match the telescope’s inherent field curvature. The field-of-view of the system is 6 square degrees. While the unique system design is advantageous for space surveillance capabilities, it presents a challenge to alignment due to an inherently small depth of focus and the additional degrees of freedom introduced with a powered tertiary mirror. The alignment procedure developed for the SST at zenith pointing is discussed, as well as the maintenance of focus and alignment of the system across a range of elevation and temperature conditions. Quantitative performance metrics demonstrate the success of the system alignment during the telescope’s first year of operation.
Woods, Deborah Freedman. “Space Surveillance Telescope: focus and alignment of a three mirror telescope.” Optical Engineering 52, no. 5 (May 1, 2013): 053604.
Final published version