Abstract

Cameras built for space exploration are required to meet stringent environmental conditions, such as thermal and dynamic loads for both the optics (camera lens) and imaging electronics. On a multitude of spaceborne imaging instruments, optical elements are supported in their mounts via an elastomeric bonding approach using a room temperature vulcanizing silicone as the bonding agent. Employing this integration method, we achieved element-to-element alignment, measured as the total indicated runout, using a high-precision contact probe to be on the order of half a wavelength of He–Ne laser light, or 0.3μm, on the Malin Space Science Systems lenses for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) cameras. This is a higher precision than the current industry state-of-the-art, and it was achieved for the very challenging small diameter lens elements. This paper describes the design philosophy, implementation, and integration method that resulted in achieving this level of precision for interelement alignment. The results are based on actual measurements that were made during the process of building the MSL rover’s science camera lenses, namely Mastcams, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, and the Mars Descent Imager. The optical designs of these cameras lenses are described in detail in [Opt. Eng. 48, 103002 (2009)], while further information on the four science cameras can be found at http://www.msss.com.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. F. T. Ghaemi, “Design and fabrication of lenses for the color science cameras aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover,” Opt. Eng. 48, 103002 (2009).
    [CrossRef]
  2. W. A. Campbell, Jr., and J. J. Scialdone, “Outgassing data for selecting spacecraft materials,” NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, 1993.
  3. P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Tolerancing optical and mechanical components,” in Mounting Optics in Optical Instruments, 2nd ed. (SPIE Press, 2008), p. 32.
  4. P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Alignment of multi-lens assemblies,” in Opto-mechanical Systems Design, 3rd ed. (CRC Press, 2006), pp. 282–296.
  5. T. Sure, J. Heil, and J. Wesner, “Microscope objective production: on the way from the micrometer scale to the nanometer scale,” Proc. SPIE 5180, 283–292 (2004).
    [CrossRef]
  6. T. Sure, V. Guyenot, and M. Gerhardt, “Automatically high precision manufacturing technology for micro-optic subgroups,” Proc. SPIE TD03, 12–15 (2005).
    [CrossRef]
  7. P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Individual component mounting techniques,” in Mounting Lenses In Optical Instruments (SPIE Press, 1995), pp. 19–52.
  8. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter cameras: Context Imager (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI); Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter cameras: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) and Wide Angle Camera (WAC), http://www.msss.com.

2009 (1)

F. T. Ghaemi, “Design and fabrication of lenses for the color science cameras aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover,” Opt. Eng. 48, 103002 (2009).
[CrossRef]

2005 (1)

T. Sure, V. Guyenot, and M. Gerhardt, “Automatically high precision manufacturing technology for micro-optic subgroups,” Proc. SPIE TD03, 12–15 (2005).
[CrossRef]

2004 (1)

T. Sure, J. Heil, and J. Wesner, “Microscope objective production: on the way from the micrometer scale to the nanometer scale,” Proc. SPIE 5180, 283–292 (2004).
[CrossRef]

Campbell, W. A.

W. A. Campbell, Jr., and J. J. Scialdone, “Outgassing data for selecting spacecraft materials,” NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, 1993.

Gerhardt, M.

T. Sure, V. Guyenot, and M. Gerhardt, “Automatically high precision manufacturing technology for micro-optic subgroups,” Proc. SPIE TD03, 12–15 (2005).
[CrossRef]

Ghaemi, F. T.

F. T. Ghaemi, “Design and fabrication of lenses for the color science cameras aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover,” Opt. Eng. 48, 103002 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Guyenot, V.

T. Sure, V. Guyenot, and M. Gerhardt, “Automatically high precision manufacturing technology for micro-optic subgroups,” Proc. SPIE TD03, 12–15 (2005).
[CrossRef]

Heil, J.

T. Sure, J. Heil, and J. Wesner, “Microscope objective production: on the way from the micrometer scale to the nanometer scale,” Proc. SPIE 5180, 283–292 (2004).
[CrossRef]

Scialdone, J. J.

W. A. Campbell, Jr., and J. J. Scialdone, “Outgassing data for selecting spacecraft materials,” NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, 1993.

Sure, T.

T. Sure, V. Guyenot, and M. Gerhardt, “Automatically high precision manufacturing technology for micro-optic subgroups,” Proc. SPIE TD03, 12–15 (2005).
[CrossRef]

T. Sure, J. Heil, and J. Wesner, “Microscope objective production: on the way from the micrometer scale to the nanometer scale,” Proc. SPIE 5180, 283–292 (2004).
[CrossRef]

Wesner, J.

T. Sure, J. Heil, and J. Wesner, “Microscope objective production: on the way from the micrometer scale to the nanometer scale,” Proc. SPIE 5180, 283–292 (2004).
[CrossRef]

Yoder, P. R.

P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Tolerancing optical and mechanical components,” in Mounting Optics in Optical Instruments, 2nd ed. (SPIE Press, 2008), p. 32.

P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Alignment of multi-lens assemblies,” in Opto-mechanical Systems Design, 3rd ed. (CRC Press, 2006), pp. 282–296.

P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Individual component mounting techniques,” in Mounting Lenses In Optical Instruments (SPIE Press, 1995), pp. 19–52.

Opt. Eng. (1)

F. T. Ghaemi, “Design and fabrication of lenses for the color science cameras aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover,” Opt. Eng. 48, 103002 (2009).
[CrossRef]

Proc. SPIE (2)

T. Sure, J. Heil, and J. Wesner, “Microscope objective production: on the way from the micrometer scale to the nanometer scale,” Proc. SPIE 5180, 283–292 (2004).
[CrossRef]

T. Sure, V. Guyenot, and M. Gerhardt, “Automatically high precision manufacturing technology for micro-optic subgroups,” Proc. SPIE TD03, 12–15 (2005).
[CrossRef]

Other (5)

P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Individual component mounting techniques,” in Mounting Lenses In Optical Instruments (SPIE Press, 1995), pp. 19–52.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter cameras: Context Imager (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI); Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter cameras: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) and Wide Angle Camera (WAC), http://www.msss.com.

W. A. Campbell, Jr., and J. J. Scialdone, “Outgassing data for selecting spacecraft materials,” NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, 1993.

P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Tolerancing optical and mechanical components,” in Mounting Optics in Optical Instruments, 2nd ed. (SPIE Press, 2008), p. 32.

P. R. Yoder, Jr., “Alignment of multi-lens assemblies,” in Opto-mechanical Systems Design, 3rd ed. (CRC Press, 2006), pp. 282–296.

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Figures (7)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Example of specifying the element wedge and mounting surface tilt requirements; note that all runouts are specified relative to the front surface of the element.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Optomechanical design and packaging of the MSL MARDI lens assembly.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Alignment steps of a lens cell and a lens element.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

TIR measurement of a MAHLI lens element during the alignment process.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Polar chart recording of TIR values for one of the MSL MARDI lens elements.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Predicted (left) and measured (right) single-pass interferogram images of the transmitted wavefront of the MARDI lens system.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

MSL lens integration and alignment station.

Tables (3)

Tables Icon

Table 1 Tolerance Allocations for Lens Element Wedge and Mounting Surface Tilt

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Table 2 Tolerance Allocations for Lens Seats and Bond Thickness Microspheres

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Table 3 Alignment (TIR) Measurements of the Mastcam 34 Lens Elements

Metrics