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Current and future fabrication and testing challenges for European space optics

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Abstract

The European Space Agency (ESA) has a wide range of space optical systems planned for and under development over the forthcoming decade and beyond. The applications are wide and varied covering space science, astronomy, robotic exploration, Earth observation, optical telecommunication, navigation and human spaceflight. The ever increasing demand for higher performance at lower cost, drives very strongly the innovation of novel and more efficient optical designs and in turn puts increasing demands on fabrication and performance verification capabilities. This paper briefly surveys the most demanding applications, provides some details on the technological challenges faced, solutions found and discusses the fabrication and verification metrology aspects needed to assure space flight performance is guaranteed before launch.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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