Wide-field astronomy requires the development of larger aperture telescopes. The optical properties of a three-mirror modified-Rumsey design provide significant advantages when compared to other telescope designs: (i) at any wavelength, the design has a flat field and is anastigmatic; (ii) the system is extremely compact, i.e., it is almost four times shorter than a Schmidt. Compared to the equally compact flat-field Ritchey–Chrétien with a doublet-lens corrector, as developed for the Sloan digital sky survey—and which requires the polishing of six optical surfaces—the proposed modified-Rumsey design requires only a two-surface polishing and provides a better imaging quality. All the mirrors are spheroids of the hyper-boloid type. Starting from the classical Rumsey design, it is shown that the use of all eight available free parameters allows the simultaneous aspherization of the primary and tertiary mirrors by active optics methods from a single deformable substrate. The continuity conditions between the primary and the tertiary hyperbolizations are achieved by an intermediate narrow ring of constant thickness that is not optically used. After the polishing of a double vase form in a spherical shape, the primary–tertiary hyperbolizations are achieved by in situ stressing. The tulip-form secondary is hyperbolized by stress polishing. Other active optics alternatives are possible for a space telescope. The modified-Rumsey design is of interest for developing large space- and ground-based survey telescopes in UV, visible, or IR ranges, such as currently demonstrated with the construction of identical telescopes MINITRUST-1 and -2, f/5 − 2° field of view. Double-pass optical tests show diffraction-limited images.
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