The deployable telescope: A cutting-edge solution for high spatial and temporal resolved Earth observation

Dennis Dolkens, Hans Kuiper*, Victor Villalba Corbacho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


The increase of spatial and temporal resolution for Earth observation (EO) is the ultimate driver for science and societal applications. However, the state-of-the-art EO missions like DigitalGlobe's Worldview-3, are very costly. Moreover, this system has a high mass of 2800 kg and limited swath width of about 15 km which limits the temporal resolution. In this article, we present the status of the deployable space telescope (DST) project, which has been running for 6 years now at the Delft University of Technology, as a cutting-edge solution to solve this issue. Deployable optics have the potential of revolutionising the field of high resolution EO. By splitting up the primary mirror (M1) of a telescope into deployable segments and placing the secondary mirror (M2) on a deployable boom, the launch volume of a telescope can be reduced by a factor of 4 or more, allowing for much lower launch costs. This allows for larger EO constellations, providing image data with a much better revisit time than existing solutions. The DST specification baseline, based on Wordview-3, aims to provide images with a ground resolution of 25 cm (panchromatic 450-650 nm) from an orbital altitude of 500 km. In this paper, the current status of the optical, thermo-mechanical, and active optics systems design are described. The concurrent design approach combined with a strict bottom-up and top-down compliant systems engineering approach show that the DST is a healthy system concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-376
JournalAdvanced Optical Technologies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • concurrent systems engineering
  • cutting-edge solution
  • deployable optics
  • planetary observation
  • space telescope


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