The goal of this Phase I SBIR is to answer a series of important questions and develop solutions and methods for the fabrication of a very low cost, very light weight large aperture Al10SiMg aluminum alloy mirror that were discovered in the previous Phase I NASA SBIR S2.03-9125 and Phase II 80NSSC18C0065 (SBIR 2018-lI) efforts. The combination of three manufacturing processes were demonstrated 1. Design of and additively manufactured mirror substrates. 2. Precision robotic welding of hexagonal on-axis and hexagonal off-axis segments to produce a larger mirror. 3. Large capacity diamond turning of large spherical mirrors to visible tolerances on the monolithic welded aluminum mirror substrate. In this Phase I proposal we intend to deliver a one piece hexagonal periphery concave spherical additively manufactured mirror that is 160 percent larger (about 387mm) than the hexagonal mirror segments we made for the Phase I and Phase II SBIR efforts. The mirror will be have a 3 meter radius of curvature with a central hole so that it simulates a parabolic telescope primary. The objective is to develop a manufacturing process capable of producing a round 0.5 meter diameter telescope primary mirror in a Phase II effort utilizing 600mm capacity Velo3D Sapphire XC AM machines Stratasys will have operational by late 2021. The hexagonal periphery mirror with a central hole is proposed to gain information about primary mirror optical telescope mirrors and also address scaling to large segmented primary mirrors.
Components can be produced with features that are impractical or impossible using conventional processes such as machining and molding. Highly light weighted metal mirror substrates are made in small quantities at low cost. Off-axis aspheric mirror substrates are as easily produced as simple spherical surfaces. Aluminum mirror substrates can be directly diamond turned to produce high quality mirror optical components.
NASA’s mission in space research includes such far-reaching
projects as Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC),
Large UVOIR (LUVOIR), Balloon Planetary Telescope, NIR/SWIR
Optical Communication, Origins Space Telescope (OST), the Far-IR
Surveyor (FIRS), the Space Infrared Interferometric Telescope (SPIRIT)
and Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx).
This innovative mirror manufacturing technology is applicable to all
these projects as well as any military or scientific
applications requiring low cost light weight mirror optical components.
Defense applications requiring low cost and high production of visible and infrared quality mirror optical components for satellites and aerospace vehicles. Military and weather satellite optical mirrors and commercial optics such as small satellites for earth observation. Commercial applications requiring light weight stiff optical components such as semiconductor manufacturing equipment.