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NASA Goddard is USA agency that builds spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

“Preparations for manufacturing the next-generation of space-borne EUV telescopes are underway at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center develops and demonstrates technologies essential to the success of the next generation of orbiting X-Ray telescope including the next International X-Ray Observatory (IXO).

The IXO telescope Flight Module Assembly (FMA) is the focusing element of the telescope and has large collecting areas in the form of 14,000 individual glass off-axis aspheric elements mirrors, each with dimensions of approximately 200 mm x 200 mm and a thickness of 400 μm. The figure accuracy specification for each mirror is 100 nm p-v (peak-to-valley).

To ensure the mirrors meet specifications, NASA is developing ultra-precision manufacturing and metrology systems. Thermal stability is a critical element during manufacturing and subsequent measurement.

Praecis assisted NASA with the design of an appropriate enclosure for an interferometer to measure the mirrors and provided three Praecis ATCUs. Praecis achieved temperature control of 20 °C ± 0.005 °C in a ± 0.21 °C room, and +/-0.009 °C in a ± 0.4 °C room over a 24-hour period.

Of all the error sources that contribute to the manufacturing of telescope lenses, temperature is the largest. Fortunately, it is also something that Praecis could control for us. Using the Praecis solution for temperature control, we are on our way to achieving the ambitious goals of future X- Ray telescopes.”

Statement by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Astrophysicist Will Zhang poses with a curved mirror designed to focus high-energy X Rays.

Astrophysicist Will Zhang poses with a curved mirror designed to focus high-energy X Rays.

Temperature variation at the critical point is +/-0.009 °C in a +/- 0.4 °C environment over a period of 16.5 hrs.

Temperature variation at the critical point is +/-0.009 °C in a +/- 0.4 °C environment over a period of 16.5 hrs.

ATHENA X Ray Telescope
ATHENA Optics Configuration

ATHENA Optics Configuration

ATHENA Configuration Concept

ATHENA Configuration Concept