Space exploration and attitude determination

Compact optical systems for high-resolution and reliable measurements in space

The location of satellites must be determined as precisely as possible for numerous applications. For specific measurements, e.g. of air layers, for communication between satellites, accurate GPS location determination, collision avoidance or even for autonomous position determination based on stars, the precise position of satellites is essential.

Application areas

For the analysis and exploration of alien planets and distant stars, often multiple measurements are evaluated based on the combination between timing and precise attitude determination. Often, images from one or more satellites are merged to achieve higher resolutions. In principle, such methods are also used for Earth observation, but here the source of the photons is closer and is disturbed by fewer factors. An important application for position determination on earth are GPS systems. These achieve their precision by selectively combining the locations of several satellites.

Mission critical is the location determination for data transmission and navigation. The speed of satellites is usually given in kilometers per second. Accordingly, even small deviations from the predicted location are sufficient for data not to be transmitted or for a collision risk to arise.

In the long term, the removal and prevention of defective satellites in orbit will also become an increasingly important issue. One approach is for satellites to observe other satellites instead of Earth or distant planets in order to demission objects with defects well before they become critical. In addition, methods are currently being tested to precisely approach a defective satellite and lower it into the atmosphere. In this way, space will remain usable for mankind in the long term.

Requirements for optics for satellites

Optical systems must withstand the most extreme conditions in space missions. Through intensive development work and high-precision manufacturing processes, asphericon optics meet these requirements and provide a reliable solution for your space projects. High-quality surface shape tolerances as well as the lowest surface roughness values up to the Ångström range guarantee ideal application possibilities. Our extensive coating portfolio rounds off the range. Different projects with different partners prove our high-quality work, e.g. our built-in aspheres and spheres in the spectrometers of the Sentinel-4 satellite.

Choose asphericon as your reliable partner for high-quality aspheres and spheres as well as high-end freeform systems. In addition to an extremely compact design, which allows space for additional components in the system, best imaging qualities can be achieved through the special geometry. Special finishing processes, such as the in-house High-End Finishing, lead to lowest roughness values.

Our team will be happy to advise you and address your individual requirements.

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