The fabrication of optical elements began as an art rather than a science and has tended to remain so throughout its history. Today’s methods are largely extensions of the original techniques. With space-age demands for rapid response as well as quality, some effort is being made to remove optical technology from the realm of wizardry by standardizing fabrication procedures and associated working materials. However, the diversity of problems encountered in modern optical fabrication requires a flexibility of approach which indicates that the artisan will always be with us. Examples of some optical fabrication and testing procedures employed at the Goddard Space Flight Center are presented.
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