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IEEE Conference Publications
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Media-Lurio has accumulated an extensive know-how during the XMM project in the electroforming of highly accurate nickel reflectors, in precision measurement technology and the related quality aspects as demanded by space applications. We present results of investigations of panels suitable for ground station antennas and of investigations of panels for the ALMA (Atacama large millimetre array) radio telescope. Some of the results are shown. Several tests on a prototype panel have been carried out and obviously interesting results have been obtained. This all indicates a promising prospect.
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The ALMA (Atacama large millimetre array) project aims at a realisation of a 64-element radiotelescope ground array with 12 m Cassegrain antennas as single receiving elements. The receivers will operate between 30 and 900 GHz, thus putting very stringent requirements on each separate element or 12 m Cassegrain antenna. National Radio-Astronomy Organisation, NRAO, (USA) and European Southern Observatory, ESO, (Europe) have collaborated to realise, in 2003, two prototype antennas (for details, see www.eso.org under Atacama project). Surface accuracy requirements are below 10 μm rms. An interesting technology has been selected for the reflector panels in one prototype: electroforming. The technology applied for the antenna reflector panels comes as a spin-off from a dedicated space technology development carried out for the XMM X-ray satellite project (www.esa.int and search for XMM). The technological developments needed to arrive at such accurate reflector panels are described, together with results and related achievements.
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