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TRW Wins Space Telescope Contract

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Daniel C. McCarthy

The contract to build the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope has gone to TRW Inc. of Redondo Beach, Calif., advancing the project past an important hurdle and TRW past competitor Lockheed Martin Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif.

According to the $824.8 million contract awarded by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., TRW and its partners will build the observatory with a segmented main mirror in preparation for a scheduled launch in 2010. Once in orbit, the instrument will detect objects that are 400 times more faint than those observed by current ground- and space-based instruments.

The so-called next-generation space telescope, renamed the James Webb Space Telescope after NASA's second administrator, will incorporate a near-IR camera developed by the University of Arizona, a near-IR spectrograph developed by the European Space Agency and a mid-IR camera developed by the US and European space programs.

TRW developed its proposed design with help from Ball Aerospace of Boulder, Colo., and Eastman Kodak of Rochester, N.Y. TRW will lead the construction and integration of the telescope and its components, relying on Ball to produce the sophisticated mirror system and on Kodak for integration and test of the optical telescope element, said Sally Koris, TRW media relations manager. She was unable at presstime to speculate how the $824.8 million would be apportioned to each task or partner.

Photonics Spectra
Oct 2002
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