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  • Axsys to Make Space Telescope Optics
Aug 2004
ROCKY HILL, Conn., Aug. 19 -- Axsys Technologies Inc., a supplier of precision optical assemblies and components, announced it has received an $18.6 million definitive contract from Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp. to produce beryllium optical substrates for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The contract includes $9.9 million of production revenues and $8.7 million for facilitization.

As the company announced last year, Axsys Technologies' Precision Machined Products division, in Cullman, Ala., was selected as part of the beryllium mirror team to produce a 6.5-meter primary mirror to be used on the JWST. (See "Axsys Joins Telescope Mirror Team,", Sept. 23, 2003.) The primary mirror is comprised of 18 individual lightweight beryllium segments. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for JWST, which is due to launch in 2011 and will replace the Hubble as NASA's premier space telescope. Because of the large size of the primary mirror, JWST will be significantly more sensitive than ground-based infrared telescopes, enabling it to search for the first stars and galaxies formed in the universe billions of years ago.

Axsys' contract includes the production of optical substrates for an engineering development unit, 18 primary mirror segments and support structures. The company said it expects to complete the engineering development unit in the first quarter of 2005, with delivery of all 18 segments by the end of 2006.

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