Fine Detail Work May Benefit Tactical Fight: The scientists at the Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland AFB, N.M., have managed—after five years work—to consistently arrange three circular mirrors to within one one-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair for the deployable optical telescope demonstrator. Officials say the DOT is the “future of foldable, larger aperture optics” housed in launch vehicles. The technology will provide “better tactical imagery” of the battlefield, says Lawrence Robertson, the directorate’s chief of the Dynamics and Controls Group. He said there were doubts along the way that the team could succeed in the painstaking task, but Robertson added, “We nailed it.” The directorate has shared the DOT technology with aerospace companies to build systems for the Air Force and other potential customers.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.