L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) has completed 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 the mirror 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.
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.
“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.”