In order to detect exoplanets, planets belonging to other solar systems, ESA has selected the PLATO mission (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars), which will be launched in 2026.
The PLATO space observatory will integrate 26 small telescopes, in order to search for planets orbiting around a million stars.
Leonardo, in charge of the qualification and characterization of high-precision optical components, requested SYMETRIE for a comprehensive precision positioning solution in order to qualify the 34 space cameras of the PLATO project.
SYMETRIE designed a system consisting of a very high-precision ZONDA-type hexapod associated with a gimbal, a 2-axis rotating structure. This combination enables us to carry out movements along large angular amplitudes by using the two rotation axes of the gimbal structure. The hexapod makes it possible to precisely and repeatably position an optical assembly allowing the in-vacuum characterization of the telescope focal plane with extreme precision.
The system made up of eight axes is entirely controlled by electronics and software specifically developed by SYMETRIE.
■ Resolution: 0.2 µm, 1 µrad
■ Low cross coupling
■ 10-6 mbar high vacuum compatibility
■ Gimbal with ±21° in azimuth/elevation with a 1 arcsec resolution
■ Fully automated system with anti-collision sensors