NASA Series: James Webb Telescope

Space has always been a sea of possibilities for humanity to explore and grow our ever-evolving knowledge of the universe. In March 2021, that knowledge will begin to grow exponentially as NASA’s James Webb telescope is expected to launch. The telescope is named for NASA’s second administrator, James E Webb. The primary objective of the mission will be to examine the first light of the universe, along with the study of planets and how they evolve over time. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland will serve as an operations center for the James Webb telescope project. The planned mission duration is five years with a goal of 10 years. It is the hope of scientists that the telescope can measure subjects completely in infrared.

NASA Rendering of the James Webb Telescope

The idea of the telescope started as far back as 1986. The project survived cancellation attempts for its launch in July and November of 2011. It was demoed back in 2000, with its full name being granted in September 2002. The telescope was given a prime contract of $824 million in January 2007. The satellite instrument testing would happen between March 2016 and June 2018, with such things as telescope construction completion, cryogenic testing of instruments and mirror and optics installations.

Lenox Laser is honored to have provided the James Webb telescope with precision alignment targets for its mid-infrared instrument (MIRI). Optical scientist Richard Lyon was kind enough to open Lenox Laser’s industrial Institute of Optics first-class. He was working on the telescope in 2011. Mr. Lyon gave an extensive explanation of the telescope, its progress, and the optical science within the telescope. As the founder of Lenox Laser, Joe D’Entremont was invited to see this process firsthand. Lenox Laser wishes the James Webb mission a very prosperous and successful journey. We hope you have enjoyed this blog series and remember, never stop reaching for the stars.            

Lenox Laser will continue with a new blog next week. Now that we have explored our future over the past two months we will explore our past with the story of the Archimedes Palimpsest.

NASA Series: Galileo

There will always be uncharted areas of space to explore. That kind of unknown can spark a certain curiosity. NASA’s curiosity drove them to launch the satellite Galileo on October 18, 1989 from Space Shuttle Atlantis. Galileo’s mission had a duration of 14 years and it spent seven of them traveling to Jupiter. It studied the planet and its 79 known moons in the Jovian system. Galileo was an unmanned satellite consisting of two probes orbital and entry that could be used to safely enter environments not suitable for astronauts.

NASA Rendering of Galileo Satellite

Galileo made history for being the first craft to land on two asteroids, Gaspra and Ida. The Galileo mission’s discoveries include a study of Jupiter’s ice-cold planet Europa locating evidence of the existence of a saltwater ocean underneath the surface. In 1990, Galileo flew past Venus and captured infrared images of its atmospheric clouds. Other mission findings include the discovery of a magnetic field started by the moon Ganymede, and volcanic activity evidence on the moon called Lo. At mission’s end, the craft was intentionally crashed into Jupiter to prevent contamination of its local moons. Galileo’s main mission enlisted 200 staff members with the mission planned for December 7, 1985 to December 1997. It would extend to January 2003 with satellite destruction. Studies of the planets Europa and Lo lasted from December 8, 1997 to December 31, 1999. Jupiter’s water study and Lo’s plasma study were both completed in that timeframe.

Lenox Laser aided the mission starting in 1985 by drilling one 19.5 micron precision hole in hastelloy discs that were used for the spacecraft’s helium leak detector. The main reason for the hastelloy alloy was its ability withstand high temperatures and still have greater efficiency and moderately to severe corrosive environments. The alloy is made up of such metals as aluminum, carbon, tungsten, chromium, copper, magnesium, cobalt, and iron. Lenox Laser is the industrial pioneer of microscopic hole technology. Only Lenox Laser was able to create the process to drill such a small hole in a material such as hastelloy.

Galileo Galilei once said, “If you could see the Earth illuminated when you were in a place as dark as night, it would look to you more splendid than the moon.” Lenox Laser is amazed and honored to be part of humanities never ending quest to unravel the mysteries and true magic of space. Join us again next week for our final installment, The James Webb Telescope.


From dawn to dusk, to the studies of Copernicus, our civilization has always revolved around the Sun. In the case of NASA’s STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) mission, the Sun was the focus of examination for years. The mission helped scientists greatly increase their current understanding of the Sun. The two STEREO crafts launched in Florida at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on October 26, 2006. The initial mission was planned for two years but continued for just over 12 years.

            Lenox Laser’s involvement assisted in STEREO capturing images of the sun in three dimensions. Lenox Laser provided consultation and fabricated custom parts to help guide focus testing on STEREO’s instruments at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Not only did Lenox Laser play a crucial part of NASA’s major successes for the mission, it also garnered a NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Instrument Systems and Technology Division 2006 Contractor Team Spirit Award. This is an honor that Lenox Laser still regards highly today. The fascination with space never ceases to amaze or inspire, Lenox Laser hopes to continue to do so for many years to come.

NASA rendering of the two STEREO satellites and the Sun.

            The STEREO mission examined the Sun’s particles and compositions, as well as its damaging solar windstorms. It also discovered that the strength of the Sun’s magnetic field became weaker the further into the heated atmosphere scientists observed. They were able to study the edge of the sun to see how solar winds originated. Coronal mass ejections were also studied. CME’s are powerful solar options that can block the 10 billion tons of the Sun’s atmosphere into interplanetary space. They can travel almost 1 million miles per hour. 3-D images of the sun were beamed back to NASA to help them understand the measurement of the Sun’s heat, solar flares, and the overall composition and environment. On February 6, 2011, the Sun could be seen in full. This was due to the space-crafts being 180° apart. Last established contact with the STEREO mission crafts was in 2016.

May the light of the sun fill the Earth for decades and may beams of new discoveries never be extinguished. We hope that you will join Lenox Laser again for more exciting journeys of space travel next week.

NASA Series: Messenger

Space, though vast and unknown, can send us endless messages that last forever. Humanity has been enchanted with the cosmos throughout history. It was only until recently that we could explore our surrounding universe. NASA continued our fascination on August 3, 2004 with the launch of the Messenger satellite mission. Messenger’s main mission was to explore the planet Mercury and study the geology, magnetic fields, and chemical composition. Messenger became the first ever spacecraft to enter Mercury’s orbit on March 18, 2011.

NASA Rendering of Messenger Satellite

Messenger went on to discover past volcanic activity, organic compounds, and water on the planet surface. The satellite orbited Mercury once every year, due to the planet’s relatively slow rotation. Lenox Laser had the honor of laser drilling parts for NASA’s mission providing Messenger with High-Powered Ceramic Apertures used for spatial filtering. These specially made apertures from Lenox laser were on the spacecraft when it orbited Venus on its way to the mission planet Mercury. Lenox Laser’s involvement with Messenger continued past completion of its primary mission in 2012. Lenox Laser provided macor and flight quality alumina apertures for the Mercury Laser Altimeter on board Messenger.

Ultimately, the Messenger satellite was destroyed on April 30, 2015, when it impacted Mercury in a crash landing. Messenger discovered that Mercury’s planet surface is at an astounding 800°F with a surface area of over 28 million miles.  Scientists also discovered that Mercury contains craters full of water ice on the North Pole side of the planet. This is incredible because of the heat produced by its close proximity to the Sun. Mission data found that the planet had an iron rich core, and that its past volcanic activity could date back almost 4 million years. NASA is not quite sure how the planet was formed given Mercury dense atmosphere. The Messenger mission helped expand humanity’s knowledge of the universe, and Lenox Laser is proud to be a part of that ever-growing legacy.

Join us next Thursday to read more about Lenox Laser’s involvement with NASA’s missions as part of our NASA series.

NASA Series: Hubble Space Telescope

It is said that a picture’s worth 1000 words. If that sentiment is true, then all the pictures taken by NASA’s famed Hubble telescope are priceless.  The Hubble telescope, named after the famed astronomer Edward P Hubble, launched on April 24, 1990 and was deployed the following day. Lenox Laser would become involved with the Hubble project in 1981.  Lenox Laser would provide custom slits for the Hubble instruments, as well as twice providing custom stainless-steel discs with crosses in 1989 and 1991.

Hubble Space Telescope, Image Courtesy of NASA

Lenox Laser would provide precision crosshair fiducials and slits. Fiducials can be any object placed in the field-of-view of an imaging system for a point of reference. They can be used in things such as medical imaging, physics, radiotherapy and geological surveys. Any time the Hubble telescope takes pictures of stars, planets, and galaxies, the subject of the photo can be moving past the telescope an estimated 17,000 mph.  Astronauts have made well over 1.3 million observations with the assistance of the Hubble since mission launch. The Hubble has an expected decay date anywhere between 2030 and 2040 according to Nasa mission data. As of 2019, it is still in active service for photos.

Five shuttle missions have repaired and serviced the Hubble, with the final shuttle mission taking place on May 11, 2009. We at Lenox Laser hope that Hubble continues to give humanity an awe-inspiring look at the vast scope and immense beauty in the galaxy with its estimated time left. May the light of infinite galaxies continue to guide the way to bold discovery, new paths uncharted, and boundless wonders that will inspire humanity to reach beyond the depths of our existence.

We hope that you will continue to follow Lenox laser more Nasa mission excitement!!

For more information on the Hubble Space Telescope follow the link below.

NASA Series: Kepler Mission and the Starfield Plate

Space has always given humanity an endless map to explore the vast possibilities and fascination of the universe. The Kepler space mission that launched on March 7, 2009 was no exception to those possibilities. The Kepler space telescope’s main purpose was to try and answer one essential, monumental question: Are there more planets out there that are Earth-like? The unmanned satellite was tasked with trying to find planets within several stars.

NASA rendering of the NASA satellite
NASA rendering of the Kepler satellite

In 1999, Lenox Laser began making a custom starfield plate for the Kepler mission. The following year, that innovation led to the manufacturing of another starfield for NASA’s next project codenamed Starfield. The concept of the starfield plate was achieved by Dr. David Koch, the Deputy Principle Investigator on the Kepler mission. Koch started work on the Kepler mission as early as 1992. Lenox Laser laser drilled hundreds of microscopic holes into the plate accurately representing the location of celestial bodies for testing purposes. Dr. Koch summarized Lenox Laser’s work saying, “The star plate has a large number of holes of various sizes… and they are placed in many locations across the field-of- view to support the suite of tests… The plate is made of 50- micron thick stainless steel and opaque (transparency of less than one part in a million). The hole pattern was drilled with a laser beam by Lenox Laser, with some holes as small as 3 microns in diameter.”

Used to calibrate systems for the NASA Kepler Mission. Holes precision drilled by Lenox Laser.
Used to calibrate systems for the NASA Kepler Mission. Holes precision drilled by Lenox Laser.

The planets around other stars that were found are known as extrasolar planets or exoplanets. Before 2009 it was estimated by NASA that 326 exoplanets existed. An exoplanet’s orbit can be completed in a matter of days and sometimes even hours. Thanks to Kepler’s mission data, there are 4,103 confirmed exoplanets in 3,056 systems with an estimated more than 40 billion Earth sized exit planets inhabiting the Milky Way.

The Kepler telescope was outfitted with an unprecedented 95-megapixel camera to capture images. The Kepler satellite was put into retirement by NASA in October 2018 when it ran out of fuel. In its nine-and-a-half-year journey, over 4,000 exoplanets were confirmed.

The Kepler mission is just one of the many examples of Lenox Laser’s extraordinary contributions to space travel. For Lenox Laser, the term “reach for the stars” has become more than just a metaphor. May the imagination of all mankind continue to reach for those stars; may we never see the galaxy the same way again; and may we never stop dreaming.

Lenox Laser is proud to announce that over the next several weeks, we will be doing an article series on past famous NASA missions and their astonishing history.  Stay tuned!

For more information on Kepler, go to the links below.

PDA Europe 10/24 -10/25

Lenox Laser is proud to announce that we are instructing at and attending a PDA Europe workshop that will focus on teaching better implementation and understanding of container closure integrity (CCI) testing. The 2 day conference will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden on October 24th and 25th 2019.  This exciting opportunity will allow participants to interact with CCI experts, hands-on testing and real-world case studies. For more information please read the link below.

Read More Here

Interphex 2017


2017 Interphex

Javits Center in New York City

March 21st – 23rd


Lenox Laser was a part of a collaboration of 6 companies specializing in container closure integrity testing.





Calibrated Flow for Leak Testing

Lenox Laser utilizes laser ablation of micro holes in glass and plastic bottles. Our process is fast and easily repeatable way to calibrate leak test equipment by laser drilling precision small holes directly into packaging and bottles. Our experts at Lenox Laser pioneered the process for laser drilling calibrated holes used today. We have the ability to drill directly into IV bags, ampoules, blister packs, aerosol cans, glass bottles, and syringes. The process is so precise we can laser drill clean holes less than 1 µm. Lenox Laser is currently in the process of complying with the ISO Standard 17025. Industries today can not risk the integrity of their packaging structure, it affects their customers which affects the trust they have built.  Trust Lenox Laser with the most precise way to perform leak testing.

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