Compact Range Rolled Edge Reflector Design Fabrication Installation and Mechanical Qualification
Authors:John R. Proctor, David R. Smith, Paul F. Martin, Gary A. Somers, Michael W. Shields, and Alan J. Fenn
This paper describes the methodologies and processes used for the development, installation, alignment and qualification of a Compact Range Rolled Edge Reflector purchased by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and installed at their test facility located at Hanscom Air Force Base. The Ohio State University, under contract to MIT Lincoln Laboratory, performed the electromagnetic design and analysis to determine the desired surface shape and required mechanical accuracy of various zones of that surface. The requirement for operation over a very broad frequency range (400 MHz to 100 GHz) resulted in a surface specification that was both physically large (24 ft × 24 ft) and included extremely tight tolerance requirements in the center section.
The mechanical design process will be described, including the generation of a solid “Master Surface” created from the “cloud” of data points supplied by The Ohio State University, verification of the “Master Surface” with The Ohio State University, segmentation of the reflector body into multiple panels, design, fabrication and factory qualification of the structural stands, panel adjustment mechanisms, and panels. Results of thermal cycling of the reflector panels during the fabrication process will be presented.
The processes used for installation of the reflector and the alignment of each panel to the “Master Surface” will be presented and discussed. Final verification of the surface accuracy using a tracking laser interferometer will be described. Color contour plots of the reflector surface will be provided, illustrating the final surface shape and verifying compliance to the surface accuracy requirement.