To maintain flexibility and lower costs during down cycles of the semiconductor equipment market, Corning Inc. of Corning, N.Y., will consolidate its high-purity fused silica and fluoride crystal manufacturing operations into its Canton, N.Y., facility and its fluoride crystals components finishing production into Corning Tropel's operation in Fairport, N.Y. As a result of the reorganization, Corning is closing its facilities in Charleston, S.C., and in North Brookfield, Mass. The company plans to create roughly 70 jobs at the Canton and Corning Tropel plants and to reassign some employees who were affected by the closings. It estimates that the charges for the consolidation will be $70 million to $80 million prior to taxation, roughly 5 percent of them in cash. In other news, Corning has been selected by the Lowell Observatory of Flagstaff, Ariz., to produce mirror blanks for the 4-m Discovery Channel Telescope. At its Canton facility, it will fabricate a blank roughly 4.4 m in diameter for the telescope's primary mirror, and one roughly 1.4 m in diameter for the secondary mirror. The parts will be made of Corning's ULE glass, which exhibits virtually no dimensional changes over extreme temperature variations. The observatory will use the telescope for tasks such as the study of star formations in other galaxies and the surveillance of man-made objects orbiting the Earth. Discovery Communications of Silver Spring, Md., the parent company of cable television's Discovery Channel, will use the instrument for research purposes.