Low-Cost Manufacture of Lightweight Mirror Systems

Period of Performance: 05/14/2004 - 05/18/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Poco Graphite, Inc.
300 Old Greenwood Road
Decatur, TX 76234
Principal Investigator


The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Air Force are planning to develop and deploy number of systems which will include 0.3-0.5-m mirrors that would benefit from the development of a low-cost Manufacture of mirror systems. As the mirror size increases, the requirements for optical figure, stiffness and low areal density become even more demanding. The goal of this program will be to demonstrate the technology that enables the end-to-end production of 30-50cm lightweight primary mirrors for telescopes in the cryogenic aerospace environment with optical accuracy of lambda/10 or better and a cost under $200k. In this Phase I program, POCO will address the needs of the program to assure lower cost manufacturing process for larger, aspheric mirrors for future cryogenically cooled sensor applications. POCO will analyze the manufacturing cost for a complete, 0.5-m-class, advanced-technology, lightweight mirror as part of a complete telescope system. POCO will start with an established material system - the SuperSiC silicon carbide produced by the Chemical Vapor Conversion process. Poco will survey the entire industry for additional finishing approaches that may be applicable for this project. Poco will develop cost estimates in terms of lead-time and the mirror performance benefits for given mass (areal density) target mirror (