Deformable, Variable Radius of Curvature Mirror (VRM) for Wide-FOV Zoom SSA Sensors
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1638 S. Research Loop, Suite 100, Tucson, AZ, 85710
AbstractWe are proposing to develop a variable radius of curvature mirror (VRM) produced from carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite materials. This will support a compact, lightweight, robust imaging system for space platforms than can survey a wide area for situational awareness and optically (NOT electronically) magnify an area-of-interest almost instantly without macroscopic motion. Conventional zoom systems require cams and/or gears to vary the spacings between lens (mirror) groups or mechanical rotation stages to exchange lenses in the optical train. Conventional gimbals are heavy and power hungry. If successful, our system will use active reflective optical elements to view a wide area with low resolution and zoom-in with high resolution to track a potential threat without any macroscopic mechanical motion in the system. This technique could ultimately be applied to space and airborne systems for surveillance and reconnaissance, acquisition, tracking, and pointing, or other systems where mechanical motion is undesirable. Significant limitations in the dynamic range of deformable mirrors are major technical hurdles that will be addressed in this proposal. BENEFIT: CMA intends to progress this concept forward to the extent it has been tested to meet mission demands for this SBIR. This proposed effort represents the initial stages of bringing the technology to the attention of the DoD for evaluation. We expect favorable results to carry this to the level of a COTS technology for the application defined by the SBIR. CMA is a small organization and anticipates the need to partner with appropriate industry to bring it more effectively and with reduced risk to the government. Upon success of the Demonstration in Phase II, CMA/SNL will pursue commercial applications of Space-based Earth Imaging Systems. It is expected that the Air Force will seek to transition the technology and tools that will be developed during this program. This may involve transition to Department of Defense (DOD) user organizations, or industry partners in support of DOD. Obvious government agencies interested in Spaced-based Earth imaging include all DoD, NRO, NSA, NGA and the like for high spatial resolution imaging systems. As well, potential customers include GeoEye, Inc. for Imaging and others offering commercially available systems to the private sector. SNL is ideally suited to provide for the transfer of critical technologies, tools, and expertise with ongoing proactive technology transfer initiatives. SNL has licensing processes that can be engaged on behalf of the identified users. Licenses appropriate for use of intellectual property for government purposes may be royalty free. At the appropriate time and at the direction of the Air Force SBIR Program Manager, the CMA/SNL/NRL Team will create the appropriate linkages and relationships with other participants in industry and DOD operations/user organizations.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.