Outpost Technologies has been awarded its first SBIR from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Our team, including UAH’s Center for Applied Optics (CAO) and Materion, will develop a prototype infrared telescope mirror and optimize manufacturing methods. The team will design, manufacture, and inspect a 12-inch (0.305 meter) diameter, lightweight spherical mirror from a novel material called SupremEX—an aerospace grade metal matrix composite developed by Materion made from aluminum and fine silicon carbide particles. This material requires some modifications to traditional manufacturing processes—all of which our team will be studying and optimizing during the Phase 1 effort. The mirror will be designed and machined at Outpost, then nickel plated, diamond turned and inspected at the CAO. Upon completion, the mirror will be delivered to NASA for inspection and testing.
Since the SBIR announcement, our team was awarded a supplemental grant from Innovate Alabama through their Supplemental Grant Program. Alabama Finance Director and Innovate Alabama Chair, Bill Poole says, “The purpose of the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program is to create opportunity for local innovators and entrepreneurs by providing capital that supports their business goals and advances our collective mission to make Alabama a premier destination for innovation and technology. We are inspired by the tenacity of each grant recipient and proud to invest in our top-talent right at home, where the impact is tenfold. Innovate Alabama’s supplemental funding has allowed our team to increase our manufacturing scale, improve design detail, add analytical rigor, and draft technical presentations on this topic.
Outpost is proud of our team and is thankful for NASA and Innovate Alabama’s opportunity to develop this technology! We look forward to continuing this work with each of you!