RF-mechanical performance for the Haystack radio telescope

August 30, 2011
RF-mechanical performance for the Haystack radio telescope

The Haystack radio telescope is being upgraded to support imaging radar applications at 96 GHz. The Cassegrain antenna includes a 37 m diameter primary reflector comprising 432 reflector panels and a 2.84 m diameter hexapod mounted subreflector. Top-level antenna performance is based on meeting diffractionlimited performance over an elevation range of 10 – 40° resulting in a maximum RF half pathlength error requirement of 100 ?m RMS. RF-mechanical performance analyses were conducted that allocated subsystem requirements for fabrication, alignment, and environmental effects. Key contributors to system level performance are discussed. The environmental allocations include the effects of gravity, thermal gradients, and diurnal thermal variations which are the dominant error source. Finite element methods and integrated optomechanical models were employed to estimate the environmental performance of the antenna and provide insight into thermal management strategies and subreflector compensation. Fabrication and alignment errors include the manufacturing of the reflector surface panels and assembly of overall reflector surface.

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Optomechanics 2011: Innovations and Solutions – SPIE Proceedings

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