Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Gregory S. Agnes, PhD


Current space-based imaging platforms are significantly constrained in both size and weight by the launch vehicle. Increased payload size and weight results in increased cost and a decrease in launch responsiveness. The USAF Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) identified "Large lightweight structures for optics and antennas" as a revolutionary primary technology to be developed for the Air Force of the 21st Century. A membrane primary mirror in a space-based imaging system has the ability to overcome current payload constraints and meet evolutionary needs of the future. The challenge of membrane optics in space is the process of implementing adaptive optics technology to the membrane surface that will provide at least rough order of magnitude imaging, where small aberrations can be removed downstream in the system. The objective of this research was to develop a system to categorize surface properties of optical quality membrane material with the ability to interpret membrane mirror deformation. Coincident with this objective was the design and construction of membrane mirrors and associated test tooling, the design and application of in-plane zonal control for membrane mirrors, and mirror deformation analysis. The system provides wavefront analysis with both optical interferometry and Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensing, with good correlation, which compares favorably to Zygo interferometer data. Results from membrane static testing will be presented.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



The author's Vita page is omitted.