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L3Harris Technologies Completes Primary Mirror for NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

Sep 8, 2020



  • Continues cadence of successful rigorous testing prior to integration with spacecraft
  • Collects and focuses light for the space telescope
  • Designed to allow scientists to study exoplanet detection and dark energy

L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) has finished figuring, polishing and coating the primary mirror for NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly known as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, bringing it one step closer to launch.

Roman’s primary mirror will collect and focus light from exoplanets, stars, galaxies and supernovae for the telescope, ultimately feeding scientific instruments. Roman will allow scientists to study the cosmos in a complementary way to the Hubble Space Telescope, using 100x larger field of view than Hubble, to study far more objects in the sky.

L3Harris engineers applied advanced technology to create a lightweight primary mirror. The same diameter as Hubble’s main mirror — nearly eight feet (2.4 meters) — Roman’s primary mirror is one-fourth the weight of Hubble’s which is a key benefit for all space missions.

“Scientific instruments require precision and accuracy, which is what our technicians and engineers brought to developing the Roman telescope’s primary mirror,” said Ed Zoiss, President, L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems. “Fabricating space telescope mirrors is a craft, involving a painstaking process to remove molecules of glass that interfere with a mirror’s precision. Ultimately, our work will help scientists discover parts of the universe previously unseen, like exoplanets and dark energy.”

The primary mirror has undergone testing in L3Harris’s thermal vacuum chambers designed to simulate the cold, harsh space environment, and an optical test verified the performance of the mirror. L3Harris engineers and technicians will simulate zero gravity by offloading the weight of the mirror through specialty support equipment specifically developed for this purpose.

About L3Harris Technologies
L3Harris Technologies is an agile global aerospace and defense technology innovator, delivering end-to-end solutions that meet customers’ mission-critical needs. The company provides advanced defense and commercial technologies across air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. L3Harris has approximately $18 billion in annual revenue and 48,000 employees, with customers in more than 100 countries.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect management's current expectations, assumptions and estimates of future performance and economic conditions. Such statements are made in reliance upon the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results and future trends to differ materially from those matters expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Statements about system capabilities are forward-looking and involve risks and uncertainties. L3Harris disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

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