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, which will sit atop the 8,800 foot tall Cerro Pachon mountaintop in Chile.
Ball Aerospace is teamed with Arizona Optical Systems 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.