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Optics Firm, NASA Produce Lightweight Mirror for Space Telescope

Photonics Spectra
Nov 2000
San Diego-based Composite Optics Inc. has announced that it has completed construction and testing of a 2-m prototype mirror for the European Space Agency's Far-Infrared and Submillimeter Space Telescope. The mirror, which was fabricated from a carbon fiber reinforced polymer composite, weighs 77 pounds.

The prototype was developed in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Pasadena, Calif. The telescope structure will feature a 3.5-m mirror with a surface accuracy of a few microns rms at an operational temperature of 80 K and an areal density of the substrate of less than 20 kg/m2. The space telescope will investigate the development of stars and galaxies.

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