L3Harris completes work on NASA telescope

L3Harris completes work on NASA telescope

L3Harris Technologies Inc.’s Rochester Space & Airborne Systems team has finished figuring, polishing and coating the primary mirror for NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly known as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, bringing it one step closer to launch.

Roman’s primary mirror will collect and focus light from exoplanets, stars, galaxies and supernovae for the telescope, ultimately feeding scientific instruments. The telescope will allow scientists to study the cosmos in a complementary way to the Hubble Space Telescope, using a 100-times larger field of view than Hubble in order to study far more objects in the sky.

“Scientific instruments require precision and accuracy, which is what our technicians and engineers brought to developing the Roman telescope’s primary mirror,” said Ed Zoiss, president of L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems. “Fabricating space telescope mirrors is a craft, involving a painstaking process to remove molecules of glass that interfere with a mirror’s precision. Ultimately, our work will help scientists discover parts of the universe previously unseen, like exoplanets and dark energy.”

The primary mirror has undergone testing in L3Harris’ thermal vacuum chambers designed to simulate the cold, harsh space environment, and an optical test verified the performance of the mirror. Engineers and technicians will simulate zero gravity by offloading the weight of the mirror through specialty support equipment specifically developed for this purpose.

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