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Session 54 - Next Generation Space Telescope.
Oral session, Thursday, January 08
International Ballroom Center,

[54.01] NGST Optics Technology Program

J. W. Bilbro (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center)

In September 1993, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy appointed the HST amp; Beyond Committee to study possible missions for the first Decades of the twenty-first century. This was undertaken at the behest of the Space Telescope Institute with support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Among the recommendations of this committee, was that an IR optimized observatory of 4 meters or larger diameter be developed. With support from the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) began a feasibility study for the "Next Generation Space Telescope"(NGST).

This paper discusses the optics technology program which has been implemented as a part of this study. The program seeks to push the boundaries of the current state-of-the-art while at the same time maintaining rational and achievable goals. The program has two primary parts, the first involves two demonstrations to produce 1.5m diameter mirrors that have areal densities of under 15 kilograms per square meter. This program has two participants. The University of Arizona and Composite Optics Inc. The second part of the program explores alternative material materials on a smaller scale. These efforts include: Electroform nickel (Marshall Space Flight Center), Chemical Vapor Deposition Silicon Carbide (Morton International), Single Crystal Silicon (Schafer), Carbon Fiber Reinforced Silicon Carbide (IABG amp; SSG), Composites (Composite Optics Inc.), pyrolyzed graphite (Ultramet), reaction bonded Silicon Carbide (Xinetics). A competitively awarded contract for a half meter diameter ultra-lightweight beryllium mirror is planned for the fall of 97 and techniques for beryllium replication are in the process of being investigated. Techniques for lightweighting glass is being investigated using waterjets at Waterjet Technology Inc.

Program listing for Thursday