Applications of Large Space Optics

Study on Applications of Large Space Optics


In June 2012, NASA announced that it had acquired the use of two sets of space-qualified telescope Large Space Optics systems and supporting components.

about these was presented at a meeting at Princeton University last July.  Although their most obvious applications are in astrophysics, NASA is interested in identifying possible uses for these systems to address a broader range of its science, exploration, and technology goals.  A workshop will be held to provide a forum for exposition and discussion of innovative ideas in this expanded domain.  This will be followed by additional study by NASA of representative concepts presented at the workshop.


The overall goal of the activity is to identify and characterize potential mission architectures that would optimize the use of these and other NASA assets for addressing a broad range of the Agency’s science, Human Exploration and Operations (HEO), and Space Technology Program (STP) goals and taking into account higher risk solutions, advanced technologies and lower cost.  HEO involvement includes utilization of current human exploration capabilities (International Space Station and servicing) or future systems (the Space Launch System and the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, and commercial space systems).

NASA has released a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit broad community inputs in support of this study activity. RFI responses in the form of abstract submissions may be made through this website. In addition to the RFI, this website provides over-arching Agency goals as well as technical information helpful for developing abstracts and workshop presentations.

Workshop Scope and Objectives

To gather input for follow-on study, the workshop will seek information on high level concepts for utilization of all or part of the components of the optical systems, including concept goals, components used, configuration and operation of the resulting system, and scientific, technical, and/or operational benefits.  Concepts are expected to emphasize Agency efforts in one of five categories, although innovative concepts that cross category boundaries are especially welcome:

  1. STP-focused research, validation, or demonstration;
  2. Human exploration and operations;
  3. Heliophysics;
  4. Planetary Science; and
  5. Astrophysics.

Excluded from workshop and study scope are astrophysics applications for a wide field infrared survey, which are being addressed independently by a concurrent Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (AFTA) Science Definition Team. Spatially resolved Earth imaging applications are also out of scope.

NASA is also interested in innovative partnership arrangements that might be suggested.

Workshop Participation

Submission of abstracts for consideration for the workshop will be solicited broadly (via Request for Information [RFI] and NASA Directorate-specific processes).  Requirements and formats for the quad charts and accompanying narrative abstracts are provided on this website. To be considered, abstracts must be received by January 7, 2013, via email to the address also provided on this website.

Each abstract will be reviewed for how well it advances NASA goals and objectives in science, space technology development, and/or human exploration and operations. NASA encourages concepts that address multiple NASA objectives; make innovative use of NASA capabilities and/or anticipated commercial services; or incorporate innovative processes or partnership arrangements. A subset of these abstracts will be chosen for presentation in more detail at the workshop.  Attendance at the workshop will be by invitation to each concept’s principal author/point of contact (or his/her designee), who will present it in a short briefing and participate in subsequent discussion. Other interested parties can attend up to the capacity of the facility.

Follow-On Studies

Presentations that strongly address Agency goals in innovative ways will be chosen for follow-on top-level mission design studies. Related presentations may be combined for use as input to this additional analysis.  NASA will use all of the information gathered to formulate and evaluate future strategies for utilizing the assets to advance Agency goals. A final study report will contain the workshop briefings and the results of follow-on analyses.  This report will be completed about May 2013 and publicly released thereafter.

Additional Information

No proprietary, export controlled, or classified material should be provided in either abstracts or presentations.  Submittals containing such material will be expunged and not considered further.

Invited attendees at the workshop will be expected to defray their own costs of attendance.