Libmonster ID: BY-1578

A production process of specular reflector parts for the Millimetron telescope, a new national space observatory, is developed at the Lebedev Institute of Physics (FIAN). It is designed for studies of deep space objects including planets, black holes and different stars in millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. The Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) as a telescope customer intends to launch it in 2017-2018. This innovation reduces the cost but, above all, increases accuracy of manufacturing the key component of the telescope design and can be used in development of telescopes of following generations. Viktor Pyshnov, Cand.

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Sc. (Tech.), senior researcher of the FIAN Department of Space Structures presented some details of engineering solutions to the Scientific Information Agency of FIAN-Inform.

According to him, satellite systems depend largely on the accuracy of manufacturing of reflecting surfaces of specular reflectors and their deformations. For a mirror with a diameter of several meters, deviation from ideal should make up units of micron for a millimeter waveband. These rigid conditions determine choice of material, design and technology of making of the given element. Materials with a low thermal-expansion coefficient are used in the creation of such components. They include astrocitall (silica glass) and carbon composite, the most common substances used in our country for production of telescopic mirror systems. However, both of them have their pros and cons. For example, astrocitall is brittle. Besides, it makes the production process of lightweight mirrors extremely labor-intensive and costly. For example, creation of 1 m2 of structure costs US$ 1 mln and will take about one year.

Pyshnov has noted that carbon composite surpasses astrocitall in force of impact, rigidity and mass. But it buckles due to internal stresses caused by errors in reinforcement path and different thermal expansion factors of carbon fiber and polymer matrix. Besides, the material is subjected to humidity deformations, and its polymer matrix can crack. However, according to the scientist, these problems are solvable, which is proved by studies conducted at the Department of Space Structures and also by a successful mission of the Planck cryogenic telescope (European Space Agency, 2009), whose main mirror was made of carbon composite.

FIAN specialists decided to use strong points of both materials and level down their disadvantages, i.e. they suggested a precision panel design made of high-modular cyan-ether carbon composite on astrocitall matrices-this is a crux of the innovation. Meanwhile, the technological cycle of such panel will take up to one month and cost US$ ~200,000 per 1 m2. According to the scientists, this structure will be twice as rigid against ceramized one (made of crystalline materials produced by volumetric glass crystallization), though 1.7 times lighter in mass. Moreover, as proved experimentally, a mean surface deviation of such panel relative to a forming quartz matrix will not exceed 3 microns (tolerance for a main 10 m mirror of the Millimetron telescope makes up 10 microns).

In a word, as Pyshnov has summed up, carbon composite items created according to FIAN technology will

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Diagram of location of MILLIMETRON telescope main systems.

One of the variants of orbital structure of the Millimetron observatory.

exceed in cost, integral deformability, mass, rigidity and labor intensity their competitive analogs made of astroc-itall and other materials (for example, silicon and beryllium carbides). These advantages can ensure a leading position of our country in the market of hyper-precise antennas operating in a millimeter wave range.

FIAN already employs an experimental base, which has produced the first samples and engineering mockups of precision panels. In essence, it is ready for standard production.

On materials of the Scientific Information Agency "FIAN-Inform", February 12, 2013

Illustrations from FIAN site

Prepared by Marina ΚHALIΖEVA


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PRECISION PANELS FOR MILLIMETRON OBSERVATORY // Minsk: Belarusian Electronic Library (BIBLIOTEKA.BY). Updated: 06.11.2021. URL: (date of access: 18.05.2024).

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