Made In Space announces manufacturing system for smallsat interferometry
(8 April 2019 - Made In Space) Made In Space (MIS) announced today that it is developing an in-space manufacturing system to enable precision long-baseline interferometry missions.
This technology, known as Optimast-SCI (Structurally Connected Interferometer) equips an ESPA-class small satellite with the company’s extended structure manufacturing technology. It enables the deployment of a 20-meter optical boom interferometer with modular internal optics bench developed with Lowell Observatory, a world leader in astronomical optical interferometry.
(courtesy: Made In Space)
Optimast-SCI is a mission application developed from the company’s Archinaut program and leverages manufacturing capabilities that have been validated on orbit and in a thermal vacuum environment. Optimast SCI’s manufacturing system--which recently reached a critical testing milestone qualifying it for a spaceflight--is a self-contained, scalable machine capable of producing microgravity-optimized structures on-orbit.
Interferometry is the method of collecting and merging data from two separate collectors of electromagnetic waves (e.g., light or radio waves) from a single object and analyzing the patterns those merged waves create. This allows astronomers to combine signals from multiple telescopes, effectively forming one giant telescope. Ground-based astronomical interferometers are extremely large research facilities (up to 430m in length) and are often limited by atmospheric conditions.
Optimast-SCI’s in-space configuration can resolve faint objects at less than 5 milliarcsecond resolving power and enable new high resolution, space-based missions in astrophysics, planetary science, Earth remote sensing, and space situational awareness, all with no atmospheric distortion. Eliminating the turbulent distorting effects of the atmosphere by operating from space will allow the observatory to examine objects of interest for as much as 10,000 times longer than a terrestrial observatory. Optimast-SCI provides an affordable approach to space-based optical interferometry that fits within existing mission classes and small satellite mission budgets.
“The rapid evolution of our in-space manufacturing technology has introduced new, cost-effective capabilities to the market that can advance space exploration,” said Michael Snyder, Made In Space Chief Engineer. “The application of this technology allows humanity to access new astronomical observation capabilities to explore our universe and that is very exciting.”
Made In Space is the leading developer of manufacturing technologies in space. The company looks to pioneer a new generation of functional structures in space, thereby enabling a variety of new mission applications through its Archinaut technology, a 2015 NASA Tipping Point award winner.
About Made In Space
Made In Space (MIS) is the industry leader for space manufacturing technologies, delivering next-generation capabilities in orbit to support exploration objectives and national security priorities. As the first commercial company to additively manufacture in space, MIS is advancing the commercial space economy through its expansive technology portfolio. With a focus on industrializing the space environment, MIS specializes in on-orbit manufacturing, space enabled materials development and exploration manufacturing technology. With offices in Florida, California, Alabama, and Ohio, MIS is empowering an elite workforce and domestic supplier base to realize the company vision of sustainably building off-Earth manufacturing capabilities to enable the future of space exploration.