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Optic solutions for amateur astronomers and NASA engineers

Posted by Steve Rowe on

Space Telescope

Esco started out as an optics supplier for amateur astronomers. And things just took off from there. Today, we work with NASA and other leading aeronautics organizations, helping to develop the optical technologies that are providing first looks at never before seen galaxies, light years away. Talk about moving up to the big leagues.

Satellite optics on the launchpad
These new technologies are everywhere, from everyday items to satellites orbiting the Earth. Have you heard about the James Webb Space Telescope? It’s been in the news lately. It was scheduled to launch this month, and we were really looking forward to it. However, systems integration and testing delays are pushing that launch out until March, or even June, of 2019. It’s disappointing, but not unheard of—especially when you’re dealing with systems this sophisticated. Remember the Hubble kerfuffle? Within weeks of its 1990 launch, mirror flaws returned images with far less resolution than expected. Something was off. It turned out to be a very small defect, but in optics, the difference of a human hair’s tolerance can be everything.

The solution involved new components, service missions, and space-walk repairs. But that’s what it takes to achieve that level of precision. It’s a process we understand, and it’s a big part of what we do—and why clients trust us. We apply this results-driven, iterative, and collaborative approach to developing all our optic prototypes.

W. M. Keck Observatory

The world’s most productive telescopes
Now, we know this is space week, but what about telescope systems based here on Earth? You know the telescopes searching the sky every day—and night. There are some extremely sophisticated Earth-bound telescopes, designed around some amazingly high-powered optics. Take a look at our friends at W. M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The twin Keck Observatory telescopes are the world’s most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes. Each telescope weighs 300 tons and operates with nanometer precision. The telescopes’ primary mirrors are 10-meters in diameter and are each composed of 36 hexagonal segments that work in concert as a single piece of reflective glass.

Not sure you, but we think they are some damn fine telescopes, and a far cry from our humble beginnings with backyard astronomers. But that’s what it’s all about, looking for new ways to see more clearly—and further. And that’s what we do.

Esco 1st Catalog - telescopes

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