PITTSBURGH, June 25 -- Brashear LP has received a multimillion dollar contract from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., to design and fabricate large space optical assemblies for NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.
Kepler, a NASA Discovery mission, is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with the technical and science leadership provided by NASA's Ames Research Center. The telescope is designed to detect Earth-like planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system. Scheduled to launch in 2007, Kepler will search for planets using a specialized 1-meter aperture telescope called a photometer. The photometer will measure the small changes in brightness of a star caused by the transits of planets as they pass the line-of-sight between the parent star and the earth.
Over a four-year period, Kepler will continuously view an amount of sky approximately equal to the size of a human hand held at arm's length or equivalent in area to two "scoops" of the sky made with the Big Dipper constellation. In comparison, the Hubble Space Telescope can view only the amount of sky equal to a grain of sand held at arms length, and then only for about one half-hour at a time.
"Brashear has built optics for space many times in the past, and we are elated that Ball Aerospace and NASA have selected us," said Andrew Clarkson, Brashear's optics and telescope product line manager.
For more information, visit: www.brashearlp.com