Ultra-lightweight, actively controlled mirrors for space

Jim H. Burge

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Advanced technology mirrors for large space telescopes are being developed that use thin facesheets controlled by actuators. This concept was proven with a 50 cm prototype and is now being implemented for a 2 m cryogenic mirror that weighs only 40 kg. The reflective surface is provided by a glass facesheet, typically 2 mm thick, which is attached to a stiff lightweight support structure through a set of screw-type actuators. This system allows periodic adjustments with the actuators to maintain the surface figure as measured from a wavefront sensor. The optical surface accuracy and stability are maintained by the active system, which can be made using lightweight carbon fiber laminates that economically provide stiffness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-85
Number of pages2
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1999
EventProceedings of the 1999 18th Congress of the International Commission for Optics (ICO XVIII): Optics for the Next Millennium - San Francisco, CA, USA
Duration: Aug 2 1999Aug 6 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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