Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been selected by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to build the optics and support structure, designated as the L1-L2 Lens Assembly, for the camera on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which will sit atop the 8,800 ft. tall Cerro Pachon mountaintop in Chile.
Ball Aerospace is teamed with Arizona Optical Systems (AOS) to build the lens assembly consisting of two large refractive lenses and the precision support structure to mount the lenses. AOS will machine and polish the lenses and perform optical testing. Ball Aerospace will design and integrate the mechanical assembly, support optical/mechanical integration and conduct testing at AOS along with overall management. Ball previously worked with AOS to build Ball's Universal Collimator Assembly, a large ground-based optical testing facility.
"Ball has significant expertise in designing and fabricating high performance optical systems," said Jim Oschmann, vice president and general manager for Ball's Civil Space and Technology business unit. "In this market we'll leverage our experience with large optics from space-borne telescopes, such as those we built for NASA's Kepler mission and the Operational Land Imager aboard NASA's Landsat-8 mission."
The LSST large aperture, wide-field optical imaging facility will explore dark matter, dark energy, the "transient" optical sky including hazardous asteroids and astronomical events, and the formation and structure of the Milky Way. Every three nights, the LSST will take a full image of the night sky capturing billions of objects in six colors to create a Hollywood-like motion picture of the universe. The observatory is expected to operate continuously over a 10-year period.
"We look forward to working with AOS for their fabrication and optical testing expertise to provide a high quality, affordable solution to our customer," added Oschmann.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. For more information, visit http://www.ballaerospace.com/.
The effort to build the LSST is a partnership between public and private organizations. Financial support for LSST Design and Development comes from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation formed in 2003, with headquarters in Tucson, AZ. Contributions from private foundation gifts, grants to universities, and in-kind support from laboratories and other LSST Member Institutions were key to early construction and critical developments. The LSST Project Office for central management was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. The Department of Energy funded effort is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is responsible for optical elements of the LSST Camera. Learn more at www.lsst.org.
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