UltraLITE glass/composite hybrid mirror

Brian Catanzaro, Dan Keane, Steve Connell, Dave Baiocchi, Jim Burge, Arup Maji, Mike Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The mass of the primary mirror has dominated the mass of larger aperture (>1 m class) telescopes. Spaceborne telescopes have much to gain from a significant reduction in areal density. Areal density is often limited by the stiffness to weight ratio of the primary mirror. Two key factors drive this criteria: telescope structural characteristics (launch and deployment) and fabrication requirements. A new class of hybrid composite mirrors has been designed, prototyped, and fabricated to demonstrate the advantage of the high stiffness to weight ratio of carbon fiber composite materials and the superior optical fabrication for low expansion glasses. This hybrid mirror utilizes a unique `set and forget' fabrication technique. A thin meniscus of glass is mounted to a stiff composite support structure using composite flexure rods. The meniscus is lightweighted using waterjet pocket milling and is conventionally polished to a precise radius of curvature. This meniscus is then supported on the flexures and actuated to a precise figure. The flexures are fixed and the actuators are removed. The substrate is then ion figured to achieve the final figure. The areal density of this mirror is 10 kg/m2. Surface figure on a 0.25 m aperture prototype was demonstrated at better than λ/4 (visible) prior to ion figuring. Two 0.6 m mirrors are under fabrication. The design of the mirror and results of the fabrication and testing will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-671
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes
EventUV, Optical, and IR Space Telescopes and Instruments - Munich, Ger
Duration: Mar 29 2000Mar 31 2000

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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