NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Sensor and Detector Technology for Visible, IR, Far IR and Submillimeter
PROPOSAL TITLE:Lightweight Thermally Stable Multi-Meter Aperture Submillimeter Reflectors

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
DR Technologies, Inc.
7740 Kenamar Court
San Diego, CA 92121-2425
(858) 587-4210

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Theodore  G Stern
7740 Kenamar Court
San Diego, CA  92121-2425
(858) 677-1230

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Future astrophysics missions will require lightweight, thermally stable, submillimeter reflectors in sizes of 4m and greater. To date, graphite fiber reinforced composite (GFRC) construction has been used in many cases to ideally meet the reflector needs of submillimeter and microwave instruments, but only in sizes upto 2m. This project significantly advances the size and accuracy capability of GFRC reflector technology for future missions by focusing on innovation in two limiting areas: precision mandrel fabrication, and core induced surface error. Mandrel cost and quality can often be thee most significant budget and schedule challenge to a reflector program. To reduce cost, recent commercial innovations in optical grinding and polishing will be investigated for applicability to fabrication of a 4m convex tool. A variety of traditional and non-conventional tool materials will be considered. No-mandrel assembly concepts will also be investigated. To improve reflector surface accuracy, improvement is needed to mitigate the anisotropic nature of GFRC core. Novel methods of attaching core elements to faceskins will be investigated, as well as alternative core materials and manufacturing approaches. Phase 1 will result in a preliminary point design for a 4m-class submm reflector. Concepts for improvement in mandrel cost and quality, and reduction of core induced surface error, will be defined. After verification of these concepts in early Phase 2, a 4m-class prototype reflector will be built and tested that demonstrates all key aspects of a multi-meter full-scale reflector design and build.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This advance would both meet the needs of next generation instruments, as well as provide a technology stepping stone to far term missions that envision apertures on the order of 10 meters. In the near term, Japan's SPICA mission will need a 3.5m cryogenic telescope in the 2010 timeframe. One of JPL's Earth Observing mission concepts would need a similar telescope in the same timeframe, but for operation in a MEO orbit that would be subject to thermal cycling between 250K and 420K. (This mission study was funded in 2005, and is known as CAMEO, or Composition of the Atmosphere from Mid Earth Orbit). In the far term, the SAFIR mission is a high priority in Space Science that is envisioned to feature a 10m class aperture operating at 4K. This large of an aperture would certainly require a segmented design, and assembly (or deployment) would be accomplished without a full aperture master tool.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The increasing need to provide internet capabilities to remote locations for commercial applications has lead several service providers and spacecraft manufacturers to consider constellations of wireless broadband spacecraft. Lightweight, large-aperture, thermally stable reflectors with micron level tolerances will be needed to meet the ever growing needs for traffic capacity per spacecraft in this area.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Large Antennas and Telescopes
Optical & Photonic Materials

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19