Earth observation

The subject of the project is to develop an innovative Earth imaging technology using a constellation of observation satellites.

Particularly important and innovative solutions for this observation satellite is an optical instrument with a segmented aperture of primary and secondary mirrors. This mirror consists of three movable segments with the possibility of adjusting the position of each of them. So far, the possibility of using a segmented aperture has been proven only theoretically. At the Faculty of Electronics, Photonics and Microsystems, in the Department of Microsystems, the world’s first optical instruments with a segmented aperture and mechanisms enabling ultra-precise correction of the position of mirrors were developed.

A mechanism has been developed that allows the correction of the position of the mirrors in five degrees of freedom, which is characterized by:

  • translations in the X and Y axes = 1740 µm; basic resolution
    170 nm, max. resolution ~20 nm,
  • translation in the Z axis (along the optical axis) = 120 µm; resolution <3 nm,
  • rotations in the X and Y axes = 9 mrad; resolution <0.01 mrad,
  • rotation in the Z axis = 35 mrad; resolution <0.01 mrad,

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, it is the world’s smallest manipulator with such a large range of motion. Its external dimensions are best described by a cylinder with a diameter of 25 mm and a height of 30 mm.

The design of the telescope uses three such mechanisms for each segment of the secondary mirror. The secondary mirror subsystem is housed in the TunaCan volume in the CubeSat structure (~70 mm in diameter, ~80 mm in height).

The scientific team developed competences in the design of precise mechanical systems for correcting the position of mirrors. After modifications, this solution can be used in many applications where it is necessary to precisely move objects.

The project was implemented under Measure 1.1.1 of the Smart Growth Operational Program 2014-2020. The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. Contract number: POIR.01.01.01-00-0824/19-00