Vera C. Rubin Observatory

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory is an advanced telescope that will view more of the universe from the southern hemisphere than all previous ground-based telescopes combined. L3Harris built upon world leadership in space-based technology to develop an advanced telescope optic for Rubin Observatory. The 3.5-meter secondary mirror and mirror cell assembly will help scientists explore the structure and evolution of the universe and the objects in it.

The Deepest, Widest View of Our Universe

The observatory, a project led by a consortium of more than 35 universities, research institutions, corporations and individuals, will provide an unprece- dented survey of the universe through panoramic imagery.

Once the observatory is fully operational, the telescope will survey the entire visible southern sky every few days for a decade. Over the course of the survey, the telescope’s 3,200 megapixel camera will amass about 800 panoramic images for each patch of the sky over 10 years, essentially creating “movies” of the universe. The observatory’s initial 10-year mission is named the Legacy Survey of Space and Time, or LSST.

The completed ground-based telescope will be located on Cerro Pachón in Chile and will provide scientists with the data needed to address today’s most compelling questions in astro-physics. Rubin Observatory has been designed as a public facility. Data will be available worldwide through the public engagement platform over the internet.

L3Harris' Role

L3Harris was responsible for manufacturing the observatory’s secondary mirror and associated ground support equipment. At 3.5 meters in diameter, the 3,500-pound secondary mirror is L3Harris’ largest optic to date for a ground-based observatory, and was completed and shipped to the telescope’s location in South America in 2018. The secondary mirror is a solid meniscus design fabricated from ultra-low expansion glass.

L3Harris also manufactured the mirror’s cell assembly, which consists of the polished secondary mirror, mirror support system, mirror cell electronics and sensors, thermal control system and the mirror control system.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement AST-1258333 issued to the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (“AURA”) for support of the LSST Project. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation