LSST secondary mirror, built by Harris Corp., prior to assembly integration.

Harris Corporation Delivering Its Largest Mirror Ever for Ground-based Telescope

November 26, 2018


  • Mirror will be part of National Science Foundation’s Large Synoptic Survey Telescope
  • Will enable scientists to take more than 800 panoramic images of the sky each night
  • Telescope will identify potentially hazardous asteroids and new solar systems

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) has shipped its largest mirror ever for a ground-based observatory that will produce the deepest, widest, views of the universe.

Harris is part of the National Science Foundation team assembling the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) on the Cerro Pachón ridge in Chile. The company is providing the 3.5 meter, 3,500-pound secondary mirror and associated ground support equipment. In addition, Harris is delivering the cell assembly that stabilizes the mirror to offset the effects of gravity during operation.

LSST will conduct an unprecedented, decade-long survey of the entire visible sky, detecting billions of new objects and contributing to the study of dark matter and dark energy. Operations are scheduled to begin in 2022.

“The Harris-built secondary mirror for LSST continues a 50-year legacy of designing and constructing high-end optical systems that meet challenging requirements,” said Murali Krishnan, vice president and general manager, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Harris Space and Intelligence Systems. “We can’t wait to see the science that will be discovered.”

“This achievement marks the successful conclusion of a great joint effort between LSST and Harris. Numerous challenges due to the mirror’s large size and convex shape were overcome with novel and custom fabrication and metrology solutions,” said William Gressler, LSST Telescope and Site Manager. “The Harris team successfully completed and is delivering the world’s largest active secondary mirror system. We look forward to its delivery to the summit site in Chile and future telescope integration.”

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "This federal National Science Foundation investment is leveraging Harris’ skilled Rochester workforce to bring the farthest reaches of the universe into focus. A leader in Rochester’s world-class optics and photonics industry, Harris employees are making history by manufacturing the world’s largest terrestrial telescope active secondary mirror system in Rochester, New York. Their cutting-edge achievement will push scientific frontiers, enable new discoveries, and chart the universe like never before.”

About Harris Corporation
Harris Corporation is a leading technology innovator, solving customers’ toughest mission-critical challenges by providing solutions that connect, inform and protect. Harris supports government and commercial customers in more than 100 countries and has approximately $6 billion in annual revenue. The company is organized into three business segments: Communication Systems, Electronic Systems and Space and Intelligence Systems. Learn more at harris.com.

About LSST
LSST’s mission is to build a well-understood system that provides a vast astronomical data set for unprecedented discovery of the deep and dynamic Universe. LSST seeks to enable science in four main areas: understanding dark matter and dark energy, cataloging the Solar System, exploring the changing sky, and investigating the formation and structure of the Milky Way. LSST is scheduled to begin operations in 2022. More information can be found at www.lsst.org. Financial support for LSST comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded LSST Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). The DOE-funded effort to build the LSST camera is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC). The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.

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