As an example, an optical instrument inside a spacecraft must meet a number of requirements:
- Be robust enough to withstand the static and dynamic loading due to launch and ground handling
- Function after exposure to extreme temperatures
- Meet optical requirements in the presence of any dynamic, static, or thermal operating loads by minimizing distortions and relative displacements
- Be designed such that its requirements for prelaunch adjustment, calibration, and testing can be met in the context of the larger system
- Be lightweight enough to meet mass requirements
To achieve these objectives, an instrument’s design progresses through various phases that involve both analysis and test. ATA is experienced in working as a tightly integrated multidisciplinary engineering team to provide analysis and test services for ground, air, and space-based opto-mechanical systems throughout the entire design cycle to validate that the instrument design can meet its intended functionality under the operational and survival environments. This support includes initial definition of dynamic and thermal environments, analysis-driven design to optimize both structural and optical performance, and testing to correlate analytic models and qualify subsystems for their operational/qualification environments.