Lenox Laser and NASA- Pioneering in Space

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For 30 years, Lenox Laser has been involved in numerous NASA missions, providing quality parts and expertise. So in anticipation of our 30th anniversary, we have put together those missions which we have been involved in.

 

It is truly amazing that we have some of our parts out in distant space providing critical data about our universe.

 

Exoplanet conceptualization. Credit: NASA
Exoplanet conceptualization. Credit: NASA

 

Only a few years after its invention, the LASER was used in NASA’s pre-Moon landing missions in 1967. The founder of our company, Joseph d’Entremont, was involved in the laser testing and laser measuring of the distance of the Moon from Earth. He provided the backup system, which was successfully used after the primary contractor’s system failed. He recalls that the power of the return signal he received was somewhere between a giga or terawatt.



Hubble Space Telescope:
We have had several parts on Hubble over the years. Starting in 1981, Lenox Laser provided precision crosshair fiducials and slits for the Hubble Instruments. We then twice provided custom stainless steel discs with crosses- in 1989 and 1991.

Galileo Mission:
In 1985, Lenox Laser drilled precision holes in Hasteloy discs for the Galileo Mission to Jupiter. They were for the Helium Leak Detector on the spacecraft. Galileo spent 14 years in space-
7 to travel to Jupiter, and then 7 orbiting Jupiter and its moons.
Galileo was then intentionally crashed onto Jupiter at the end of its mission to prevent contamination.
Galileo spacecraft. Credit: NASA
Galileo spacecraft. Credit: NASA

Kepler Mission:
1999 brought us the unique and monumental task of making a custom Starfield Plate for the Kepler Mission. This then led to the design and production of another “starfield” in 2000 for NASA’s “Starfield” Project. The project is part of a system that can find orbiting bodies around distant astronomical bodies by detecting miniscule changes in light intensity.

Messenger Mission:
We then made High Power Ceramic Apertures for the Messenger Mission which were for spatial filtering. The Messenger, and our apertures, orbited Venus on the way to its goal Mercury, where it is currently gathering information about the planet. The parts were hand delivered to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

 

Light echo from a star. Credit: NASA Hubble
Light echo from a star. Credit: NASA Hubble

 

Mercury Laser Altimeter Project:
In 2003, Lenox Laser provided flight quality Alumina and Macor apertures for NASA’s Mercury Laser Altimeter Project and the Space Lidar Technology Center.

STEREO Mission:
Most recently, we provided custom parts and consulting services for NASA’s STEREO project which is providing revolutionary views of the Sun. The consulting was in support of testing the focus setting of one of the instruments during satellite integration at the Goddard Space Flight Center. As a result, Lenox Laser was awarded NASA’s Instrument and Technology Division 2006 Contractor Team Spirit Award.

To read more about our pioneering with NASA and their missions, click through the following links:

General information
Hubble Space Telescope
Galileo Mission
Kepler Mission
Messenger Mission
STEREO Mission


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