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PlaneWave’s RC700 was designed to fulfill the needs of demanding research, commercial, and defense applications. With Direct Drive motors on each axis, a small central obstruction (< 30 %), and optional GPS/PTP encoder synchronization and carbon fiber hard-shroud, the RC700 is an ideal platform for commercial entities within the laser communication and satellite laser ranging sectors. The RC700 is a latest generation laser communication telescope that has been designed to run for decades as the centerpiece of an optical ground station. Under such laser communication ground terminal use, the RC700 is virtually maintenance free, with the only parts in contact with another surface being the altitude and azimuth bearings, both of which are filled with cryogenic grease and sealed to prevent dust entering.


An alt/az mount is inherently more stable than an equatorial mount since there is no cantilevered mass, nor are there any large protruding counterweights to create a dangerous hazard in a public observatory. An alt/az telescope is also considerably more compact than its equatorial counterpart, allowing a larger telescope to fit in a smaller enclosure. The mass it takes to make a rigid alt/az mount is substantially less, leading to cost savings. Unlike German Equatorial mounts, there are no meridian flips to deal with. You can image from horizon to horizon continuously if desired. Alt/Az is more intuitive to use and no polar alignment is needed.



PlaneWave RC700 (f/12) Ritchey-Chrétien Observatory System

Sales Tax Included
    • 0.7-meter f/12 (8,410mm focal length) Ritchey-Chrétien optical design.
    • Optimized central obstruction < 30 % for improved image contrast and optical fiber coupling efficiency.
    • Dual Nasmyth focus ports, each capable of holding over 300 lbs, paired with a PlaneWave Interface 4 (PWI4) software controllable tertiary mirror for fast changes between multiple instrumentation packages.
    • Direct-drive motors on each axis providing up to 50 degrees/second of smooth, fast, and virtually silent slewing of the telescope with zero backlash and zero periodic error.
    • On-axis 26-bit absolute encoders coupled to each axis for precise pointing and stable LEO satellite tracking.
    • Optional GPS/PTP encoder synchronization for precise time-stamping and carbon fiber hard-shroud for stray light mitigation.
    • Secondary mirror focusing for increased instrumentation backfocus distance.
    • Compatible with the Series-5 rotator for derotation.
    • Space-frame design with optional Coudé Path.
    • PointXP mount modelling software.
    • *Optional piggyback DeltaRho 350 OTA and remote adjustable saddle sold separately*
  • Optical System

    Optical Design Ritchey-Chrétien
    Aperture 700 mm (27.56 inch)
    Focal Length 8,410 mm
    Focal ratio 12
    Central Obstruction < 30 % of the primary mirror diameter
    Back Focus 317 mm (12.48 inch) from instrument mounting surface
    Weight 2,500 lbs
    Optical Tube Dual truss structure with Nasmyth focus
    Dimensions 92.25″ H x 52″ W x 36″ D
    Focus Position Nasmyth Focus

    Mechanical Structure

    Fork Assembly Space-frame for maximum stiffness
    Optical Tube Dual truss structure with Nasmyth focus

    Motion Control

    Motor Control Industrial grade Elmo brushless motor control system and built in electronics
    Azimuth Motor Direct drive 3 phase axial-flux torque motor
    Altitude Motor Direct drive 3 phase axial-flux torque motor
    Encoder – Azimuth and Altitude 255 mm stainless steel encoder ring with read-head yields 67.1 million counts per revolution of the telescope. This translates to about 0.019 arc-second resolution.
    Motor Torque Approximately 170 ft-lbs continuous (Azimuth motor)
    Drive Electronics Elmo Motion Control Systems drives
    Telescope Control Software PlaneWave Interface 4 (PWI4) Software. Incorporates PointXP mount modeling software and All Sky PlateSolve, both by Dave Rowe. Also includes automatic focusing, dew heater control, primary mirror cover control, dome control and provides HTTP and ASCOM control interfaces. Linux and Windows compatible.

    System Performance

    Pointing Accuracy (all-sky RMS) 10 arcsecond RMS with PointXP Model
    Pointing Precision

    2 arcseconds at sidereal velocity

    Open Loop Tracking Accuracy

    < 0.2 arcseconds over a 10 seconds period at sidereal velocity

    Azimuth Range of Motion 660 degrees
    Altitude Range of Motion 10 – 90 degrees

    Primary Mirror

    Material Fused Silica

    Secondary Mirror

    Material Fused Silica

    Tertiary Mirror

    Material Fused Silica
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