Ultra-Lightweight and Low-Cost Space Telescope Mirrors using CFRP Composites
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
ABSTRACT: The current designs of telescopes for space borne applications use monolithic glass, beryllium, or silicon-carbide optics. With the existing optical technology, it is increasingly difficult or impossible to meet the new goals and requirements of AF, ORS, and other modern DoD missions. In particular, (a) rapid fabrication, response to needs, (b) ultra-lightweight optics, (c) compact size, miniaturization, (d) athermal performance, and (e) low cost are all key requirements for DoD missions. The development of these existing space mirror systems have reached their limit since these technologies require long lead times for fabrication and exceed the mass requirements for future lightweight telescope systems. New solutions are needed for the imaging telescope systems envisioned for nanosat and near-space payloads. In this proposal, we offer such a solution without the need for investment in further process or material development. We propose a path for developing EO/IR imaging telescope mirrors using composite materials which addresses these needs. Our proposed CFRP telescope mirrors are modular, ultra-lightweight, flexible in design, thermally stable, and rapidly fabricated on ORS tier-2 and tier-3 timescales. This technology, coupled with a COTS camera system, will lead to high quality, space platform, ultra-lightweight imaging system at drastically reduced cost. The program proposed here will demonstrate the key, mirror technology. BENEFIT: The Ultra-lightweight CFRP mirror technology will drastically reduce the cost and timescale for space platform imaging systems. This will benefit military application of responsive space and laser communications. Commercial imaging applications utilizing portable telescope systems will also benefit from this technology.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Composite Mirror Applications, Inc.
1638 S. Research Loop Suite 100 Tucson, AZ 85710-6769
Number of Employees: