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OPTICAL TELESCOPE TECHNOLOGY

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OPTICAL
TELESCOPE
TECHNOLOGY

A workshop held at
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, Alabama
April 29-May 1, 1969

Prepared by the Office of Space Science and Applications

1970

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OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY UTILIZATION
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Washington, D.C.

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For sale by the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402
Price $6.25
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 79–605809

FOREWORD

One of the principal NASA goals is the establishment of large spaceborne astronomical observatories. Typical of the telescopes being considered for these observatories is a 3-meter (120-inch), diffraction-limited instrument, which can observe over a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum, particularly those portions not visible to earthbound telescopes. Such a telescope above the earth's obscuring atmosphere would have 10 times the resolving power of the 200-inch telescope on Mount Palomar operating under the best atmospheric conditions. In addition, the large space telescope would be able to detect stars 100 times fainter than the faintest stars detectable from earth. An instrument exhibiting such a significant increase in operating performance has a commensurate increase in complexity. Thus, undertaking the design and development of large space observatories requires the consolidated effort of both scientific and engineering skills. A prerequisite to a space observatory is the optical telescope technology that must be accomplished prior to the initiation of the actual design. Many technological developments will be required to improve the instrumentation; for example, improved gratings, lightweight optical mirrors, improved detectors, electronic imaging systems, and ultraviolet transparent materials, to name but a few. It is to this objective that the Optical Telescope Technology Workshop (OTTW) is . addressed. This workshop is a joint undertaking by the Office of Advanced Research and Technology and the Office of Space Science and Applications to assess the present state of the technology, as well as to define specific technological objectives and the research programs required to meet them. We plan to continue this OTTW activity to update the work at intervals of from two to three years. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the participants and their organizations for making this first meeting so successful.

John E. Naugle Associate Administrator, NASA, Office of Space Science and Applications

Oran W. Nicks Acting Associate Administrator, NASA, Office of Advanced Research and Technology

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