We report on a joint European Science Foundation-ESA “Forward Look” project called TECHBREAK aimed at identifying technological breakthroughs for space originating in the non-space sector. We show how some of the technologies highlighted may impact future space programmes, in particular novel ideas to enable future long-life large telescopes to be deployed. The study’s final report was presented to ESA’s High level Science Policy Advisory Committee (HISPAC) in late 2014. The goals of the study were to forecast the development of breakthrough technologies to enable novel space missions in the 2030-2050 timeframe, and to identify related partnerships through synergies with non-space specialists. It was not prepared to serve as a definitive guide for very specific technologies to be developed for future space missions, but to inform on and flag up the main developments in various technological and scientific areas outside space that may hold promise for use in the space domain. The report does this by identifying the current status of research for each domain, asserting the development horizon for each technology and providing some entry points, in the form of key European experts and institutions with knowledge of the domain. The identification of problems and solutions specific to the space area led us to focus the discussion around the concept of “Overwhelming Drivers” for space research and exploration, i.e. long-term goals that can be transposed into technological development goals. Two of these overwhelming drivers are directly relevant to ambitious future telescope projects, and we will show how some of the technologies we identified such as biomimetic structures, nanophotonics, novel materials and additive manufacturing could be combined to enable revolutionary new concepts for space telescopes.