Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd has pioneered the use of commercial off-the-shelf optics for space imaging. They offer state of the art digital imagers for a range of remote sensing applications, producing stunning results at exceptionally low cost. The SSTL-300 S1 is the latest in the family of highly capable SSTL 300 platforms providing one-metre imagery.
As part of this drive for low cost, A2 grade stainless steel fasteners are used extensively throughout the imager optical sub systems. The advantages of using these fasteners, apart from low cost, are that they are readily available, they offer good corrosion resistance and are easy to clean. The A2 fasteners are also available in a variety of grades and have the advantage that they can be threaded directly into Titanium without worrying about galling between the two assembled parts. Standard practice would be to use anodized or coated Titanium fasteners, which incur greater costs.
Dimensional stability is paramount in maintaining alignment of the optical systems. Stainless steel can be used to create an athermal optical system design where all thermal expansions are balanced, resulting in a stable low stress assembly.
Stainless steel – boldly going……