The rapidly increasing number of commercial satellites, with some 25,000 small satellites for Earth observation and communication services alone in the next few years, poses a completely new scaling problem for component and subsystem suppliers. In addition, Earth observation as well as laser and quantum communication increasingly require high-quality optical subsystems with nanometre precision, such as telescopes, spectrometers or pointing mirrors, to enable high-resolution observation data or increased transmission speeds. SPACEOPTIX GmbH develops and manufactures high-quality opto-mechanical components and systems made of metallic substrates. Compared to alternative materials such as glass or ceramics, the metal optical mirrors and mirror systems offer significantly reduced manufacturing and assembly costs and, by using free-form optical system designs, an excellent ratio between optical imaging quality, mass and volume. As a Fraunhofer IOF spin-off, the aim of SPACEOPTIX GmbH is the technology
transfer of 20 years of applied research in the field of metal optics to industrial standards.
The participation was in a very early stage in parallel to the founding of SpaceOptix in 2020. It supported the awareness of benefits
and opportunities of metal optics for space applications. Especially the collaboration with OHB was positive and resulted in an ESA GSTP project as subcontractor of OHB System AG – together with Fraunhofer IOF the development of the telescope design for a compact hyperspectral imager with the aim of exploiting the unique advantages of free-form surfaces for use on a small satellite platform. The optical system is based on a three-mirror anastigmat (TMA) design.
SPACEOPTIX GmbH is a Fraunhofer spin-off founded in early 2020, making use of 20 years of experience in the development of
optical metal components to offer competitive, low-cost products for space applications. The design and development of complex
optical instruments is one of OHB’s core competences – that’s why SPACEOPTIX has already been a partner to OHB for many years.