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Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA)

Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) video

The world's first space-based gravitational
wave observatory

From an observatory orbiting the Sun, scientists hope to better understand the major astrological events that have shaped our universe.

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Gravitational waves hold the key to understanding our universe

The birth of galaxies, supermassive black holes colliding and the formation of compact binaries in the Milky Way Galaxy all create "ripples" in spacetime. To measure these ripples, the European Space Agency (ESA) is creating Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) to detect gravitational waves.

NASA Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Architecture

An ambitious endeavor

The level of complexity and precision required to detect  gravitational wave signals is what makes LISA so ambitious. In collaboration with ESA and NASA, L3Harris is developing LISA's Engineering Development Unit Telescope (EDUT). The design of the telescope comes with a very demanding set of requirements, including extreme resiliency to thermal changes due to the telescope's proximity to the Sun. L3Harris engineers must design the telescope without metal or composite materials.

LISA's observation strategy is different from single spacecraft observatories like Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope. LISA is comprised of a trio of satellites that fly in an equilateral triangle 2.5 million kilometers apart around the Sun. By measuring the displacements between pairs of satellites with laser beams sent through optical telescopes on each satellite, LISA is able to detect gravitational waves.

L3Harris will design, fabricate, align, test, verify and deliver one Telescope Structural/Thermal Model and two Engineering Development Unit (EDU) telescopes. With its proven vertical integration capabilities, L3Harris will provide a high level of control for designing LISA's EDUT. With a profound understanding of the challenge at hand and the impact LISA will have on the scientific community, L3Harris will deliver brand-new tools for discovering previously invisible corners of our universe.

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