MIT Strategic Engineering

Nexus Space Telescope (2000-2001)

NEXUS was planned as an in-space technology risk-reduction experiment and as a precursor to NGST (now JWST = James Webb Space Telescope) with an anticipated launch date of 2004. Due to lack of funding the NEXUS program was cancelled in December of 2000. Nevertheless, in the course of the project a detailed integrated model of the precursor space telescope was developed. The innovative technology areas for this project are light-weight optical telescope assembly (OTA) fabrication and verification, cryogenic instrument and actuator development, deployable sunshield technology and image-based wavefront sensing and control.


The challenge at a systems level was to find a design that would meet optical performance requirements in terms of pointing and phasing of the science light. This had to be done taking into account the flexible dynamics of the system, the control loops for attitude and pointing as well as the on-board mechanical and electronic noise sources. An integrated model of NEXUS was built to simulate the performance of the telescope and to investigate these interactions, subject to a number of disturbance sources acting during steady state observations. The following files contain the integrated model as well as a brief description.



  1. de Weck Olivier L., Multivariable Isoperformance Methodology for Precision Opto-Mechanical Systems, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SERC Report August 2001 [PDF]
  2. Miller, D. W., de Weck, O.L. and Mosier G.E., "Framework for Multidisciplinary Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Space Telescopes", SPIE Proceedings: First International Workshop on Integrated Modeling of Telescopes, Vol. 4757, SPIE, pp. 1-18, July 2002 [PDF]