News & Analysis

Ruggedised optics for space projects

29th March 2023
Kristian McCann

The cost of launching payloads into space is considerable, incorporating only 'space ready' ruggedised lenses or optical systems into your satellite or space observation system is therefore critical for achieving longer term, high-performance operation. 

During launch into space - lenses in high precision instruments and cameras are subject to vibration and shock. While slight vibration might cause malfunction in lenses, severe vibration can result in damage that is beyond repair. Shock waves are also highly detrimental to the performance and operation of high precision optical devices.

To minimise the effects of vibration and shock it is advisable to keep your optical components small and light. The less mass you have the less effect vibration and shock will have. To stop components in your optical system from moving requires that all parts are retained as tightly as possible and that retaining rings cannot work loose. This can be done by staking the retaining rings so that they cannot come loose. However, if your required optical components are heavier then it may be preferential to bond all the elements in position. Consequently, the mechanical design of space ready optics must consider the mass of the elements and determine what method of retaining is required. Also, importantly, the effects of vibration and shock must be considered across the operating temperature range of space launch to ensure optical components cannot become loose due to temperature cycling.

Over the last 20 years - Resolve Optics has developed the expertise to design ruggedised lenses and optical systems proven to withstand the vibration effects and shocks encountered during launch. To ensure all ruggedised lenses and optical systems produced can withstand the launch vibration and shock profile provided by the customer, Resolve Optics has invested in in-house testing equipment.

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