The US Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing (AMOS) site has completed the recoating of the advanced electro-optical system’s (AEOS) primary mirror.
The 11.9ft AEOS is the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) reflector telescope, located on top of the 10,023ft Haleakala volcano in Maui, Hawaii.
It is part of a constellation, known as the Maui Space Surveillance System.
The system is used by the US Space Force (USSF) for space domain awareness (SDA) to advance national security.
The AMOS site combines research and development (R&D) mission under the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which supports two services and one operational mission for the USSF’s 15th Space Surveillance Squadron.
AFRL Directed Energy Directorate R&D mission branch chief and 15th Space Surveillance Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Phillip Wagenbach said: “Periodic recoating of AEOS’s primary mirror ensures readiness of telescope to support SDA mission for warfighters.”
The recoating work involved one year of planning and four months of execution.
Work started with the removal of the primary mirror cell from the telescope, followed by its relocation to the mirror recoating facility, where the team took nearly two weeks to remove the mirror substrate from the cell.
The recoating was performed by Boeing’s on-site staff and its facilities’ contractors and external experts.
AMOS site technical director Scott Hunt said: “Stripping and cleaning substrate was a critical process, particularly final wipe-down to remove any residue from chemicals used during stripping and cleaning process.”
After completing the work, the Maui team shared the results with private industry coating experts in Tucson, Arizona; and Albuquerque, New Mexico; to validate the recoating process.
Wagenbach said: “The report we received was the coating achieved during recoat was excellent and among the best they had ever seen on a large mirror of this type.”