The ultimate goal of the proposed Phase I and Phase II SBIR projects is to demonstrate manufacturing processes for 3D printing low areal cost, ultra-lightweight mirrors and structures, and then sell these products to the Government and Systems Integrators in Phase III. The NASA Astrophysics Division Roadmap Enduring Quests - Daring Visions builds on the 2010 Decadal Survey and includes near-term, formative (10-20 years - notional Surveyor missions) and visionary (20+ years - notional Mapper missions). Assuming a 20-m aperture Far-Infrared Surveyor (Origins Space Telescope), a 16-m aperture LUVOIR Surveyor, and 500 m2 collection area for the ExoEarth Mapper, then at least 1015 m2 of mirrors are required by NASA in the next 30 years. At the NASA target price of $100K/m2 this represents a marketplace totaling over $101M.
Low cost, lightweight, dimensionally stable mirrors have use in complex telescopes for Astronomy, Imaging and Remote Sensing applications, including optical instruments/telescopes which enable imaging, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions for police and paramilitary units, fire fighters, power and pipeline monitoring, search and rescue, atmospheric and ocean monitoring, imagery and mapping for resource management, and disaster relief and communications. The dual-use nature of complex telescopes will bring affordability to national defense missions such as airborne, shipborne and land-based lasers as well.