A new mirror mounting technique applicable to the primary mirror in a space telescope is presented. This mounting technique replaces conventional bipod flexures with flexures having mechanical shims so that adjustments can be made to counter the effects of gravitational distortion of the mirror surface while being tested in the horizontal position. Astigmatic aberration due to the gravitational changes is effectively reduced by adjusting the shim thickness, and the relation between the astigmatism and the shim thickness is investigated. We tested the mirror interferometrically at the center of curvature using a null lens. Then we repeated the test after rotating the mirror about its optical axis by 180° in the horizontal setup, and searched for the minimum system error. With the proposed flexure mount, the gravitational stress at the adhesive coupling between the mirror and the mount is reduced by half that of a conventional bipod flexure for better mechanical safety under launch loads. Analytical results using finite element methods are compared with experimental results from the optical interferometer. Vibration tests verified the mechanical safety and optical stability, and qualified their use in space applications.
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