[SatNews] Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued it a patent for an invention by SDL electro-optical engineer Trent Newswander that will enable spacecraft optical payload designers and engineers a new way to realize larger telescopes on small satellites.
Newswander’s invention, known as the Multiple Petal Deployable Telescope deploys its mirrors on-orbit while precisely positioning the mirrors within nanometers. To do this, it requires no positioning sensors and precision positioning actuators typical on prior deployable space telescopes. It uses modern precision fabrication processes and kinematic and semi-kinematic interfaces to accurately position the mirror components.
“This technology addresses the size, weight, and power limitations of small satellites being able to accomplish many optical science missions that require larger telescopes,” Newswander said. “In addition to providing larger telescope apertures on a small satellite, laboratory testing of prototypes has shown that this technology can support visible imaging missions.”
“The patent award for the petal telescope continues SDL’s 55 year legacy of innovating ideas that contribute to advances in our industry,” said Niel Holt, director of SDL. “Trent and the other 450 dedicated professionals at SDL are at the vanguard of technologies and methods to improve ways in which we enable our customers in the aerospace, science and defense communities to successfully fulfill their missions.”