FAST Systems

Under a two-phase NASA SBIR grant, Blue Line designed and produced an optically correct 1/8 scale replica of the planned 8-meter James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), formerly known as the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST). In Phase I, Blue Line developed a design for a segmented 1-meter astronomical telescope with fully active figure control. The design incorporated hinged mirror petals and a deployable secondary mirror, both features of the planned NGST, and utilized Blue Line's Shear Sensing technology to align and correct mirror segment positions. Phase II funded construction of a working telescope employing Blue Line's FAST design. The telescope, which is currently in production, will serve as a testbed for adaptable active telescope structures and dynamics. The telescope will be compatible with commercial off-the-shelf software, allowing implementation of a variety of control algorithms. Blue Line's FAST technology may lead to the development of an entirely new class of fixed-site and field-portable research tools for observational astronomy, which would be of great interest to researchers, government agencies, aerospace contractors, and others. A PowerPoint presentation on this project is also available, as well as a QuickTime demonstration showing how FAST technology could be applied in advanced space telescope operations.

Elements of Blue Line's FAST System. Above, clockwise from upper left: FAST mirror segment (note curvature); mirror segment as seen from below, showing T-shaped placement for load spreaders; corner of a mirror segment, illustrating the location of differential edge sensors; mirror flexure structure.

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Left: FAST Load spreader

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