April 1, 2010 marked the 50th Anniversary of the world's first weather satellite, TIROS-1 (Television Infrared Observation Satellite), which changed the future of weather forecasting forever. Rochester-based Navitar, Inc., a manufacturer of high magnification imaging optics, is proud of their connection to the TIROS-1 satellite - Navitar, known then as Elgeet Optical, produced the 8mm wide angle camera lens used for capturing the historical satellite images.
Elgeet Optical, founded by David Goldstein in 1946, became a subcontractor for NASA and RCA in the early 60's and produced the optical system found in the TIROS-1, and subsequent TIROS-2 and TIROS-3 satellites. An Elgeet Navitar 8mm F1.5 super wide angle lens was attached to a slow-scan camera device that took snapshots of the sky beneath it every 10 seconds. The camera and lens combination weighed only 4.5 pounds. With the wide angle lens, the camera provided a clear view of earth from space 750 miles away.
The TIROS-1 satellite is on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (see photo at left) - and you can see the Elgeet Navitar lens protruding from the satellite. A sample of the 8mm lens is also on display at Navitar's headquarters in Rochester, NY.
Today, Navitar, Inc. is comprised of a network of companies that design, develop, manufacture and distribute precise optical and electro-optical technologies and systems. The company strives to stay ahead of the changing technological advancements and is one of the most recognized and respected names in the optics industry.
Navitar's Imaging Solutions and Special Optics divisions manufacture precision optical and electronic systems that span leading-edge markets and applications including defense applications such as long-range and 360 degree surveillance, airborne imaging, laser weapons, laser defense, and simulation; biotechnology and life science fields of fluorescence microscopy, DNA sequencing, digital radiology and ophthalmic laser eye surgery; semiconductor applications such as wafer metrology, photovoltaic and flat panel inspection, laser micromachining, UV laser systems, and SWIR, IR, UV and hyperspectral imaging. Navitar's Projection Optics division produces replacement and conversion projection lenses as well as custom projection optics for military simulation, flight training, and 180 degree dome presentation.