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SBIR/STTR

Orbital Fiber Optic Production Module, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop the Orbital Fiber Optic Production Module (ORFOM), which addresses NASA's needs for sustainable space operations and full utilization of the International Space Station (ISS). ORFOM is an orbital scientific payload that will be capable of optical fiber draw in zero gravity onboard the ISS, and specifically "ZBLAN" fluoride glass fiber which is capable of transmission from ultraviolet (UV) to mid-wave infrared (MWIR). When produced on Earth, ZBLAN glass fibers exhibit excessive loss due to crystallization; however, this crystallization can be suppressed in zero gravity. Low down-mass and the high value of low-loss ZBLAN fiber make it an ideal candidate for commercial ISS utilization. During Phase I, we will design and assemble a prototype fiber draw system that will have the size, weight, and power (SWaP) to fit into a NanoRacks ISS payload bay. We will also demonstrate a novel fiber draw process using an in-situ coating and a method to start the fiber draw from a preform that can be used in zero gravity. In Phase I, POC will develop a compact Technology Readiness Level (TRL)-4 version of the ORFOM, and formulate a preliminary Mission Plan, which will be implemented in Phase II. We will also explore commercial applications such as rare-earth-doped fiber for fiber lasers. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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