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Optical Surfaces to Supply Moon Explorer Optics for Hensoldt Optronics

Photonics.com
Jun 2018
KENLEY, England, June 19, 2018 — Optical Surfaces Ltd. has been selected by Hensoldt Optronics GmbH to supply key precision optics for optical testing the Ganymede Laser Altimeter (GALA) on board the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) mission.

JUICE mission artist’s impression of a strong electron field face by JUICE mission in Jupiter orbit. Courtesy of ESA.
Moon in Jupiter's orbit. Courtesy of European Space Agency.

Hensoldt selected Optical Surfaces to manufacture and supply a 550-mm diameter off-axis parabolic mirror and two identical 600-mm diameter folded flat mirrors for optical verification testing of the Ritchey-Chrétien telescope in the GALA instrument.

The JUICE mission is part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) cosmic vision program and its objective to study Jupiter’s plasma environment and the three icy moons of Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto. The JUICE spacecraft will be launched in 2022 on an Ariane 5 rocket. After its eight-year voyage, it will enter an orbit around Jupiter. During the following three years, the orbit will be gradually adjusted, and after several flybys at Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede, the spacecraft will reach its final orbit around Ganymede. GALA will be used to determine the topography and time-dependent shape of the moon by a direct laser altimetry approach.

The GALA instrument is composed of three units: a transceiver unit, a laser electronics unit, and an electronics unit, all designed to withstand the challenging environment of Jupiter. At the heart of the transceiver unit is a lightweight Ritchey-Chrétien telescope that incorporates precision optics capable of providing topographical vertical resolution of <5 m and measuring radial tidal deformations of the moons ice shell with an absolute accuracy of <0.03.

“To be chosen as a supply partner to help enable the JUICE mission is a great honor,” said Aris Kouris, sales manager for Optical Surfaces. “Drawing upon our many decades of experience in building telescope systems, we were able to propose a solution to overcome the considerable difficulties posed by the manufacture and testing of the high-precision optics.”

Optical Surfaces is a producer of precision-mounted optics for space and astronomy research.


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