NASA Stereo Mission

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NASA’s recent STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) project is a mission to capture the sun in three dimensions. The two-year long project involves having two near-identical telescopes (one ahead of earths’ orbit and one behind) to record the behavior of the sun, studying phenomena like coronal mass ejections.

Lenox Laser fabricated custom parts for the Government and provided consulting services in support of testing the focus setting of one of the STEREO instruments during satellite integration at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

The project was nearly ended until Lenox Laser assisted with a critical a successful test. As a result, Lenox Laser was awarded the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Instrument Systems and Technology Division 2006 Contractor Team Spirit Award.

Venus Transit Over the Sun

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On June 8th, Pastor Tom Cordock from Lenox Laser brought his telescopes and binoculars equipped with special optics to view the Venus transit over the sun. He was able to capture some magnificent photos of this historic event which are shown at the bottom right. This special event last happened in 1882 and British astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks recorded the first transit of Venus across the sun in 1639. You will have to wait until June 6, 2012 to see this again.

For more information, pictures, and movies about this unique historic event please visit Venus Transit 2004

Lenox Laser is also playing a role in the Messenger Mission which should be taking off this month and begin its voyage around Venus in order to study the innermost planet, Mercury.

NASA Messenger

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NASA’s MESSENGER – set to become the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury – launched today at 2:15:56 a.m. EDT aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

NASA: Lenox Laser fabricated High Power Ceramic Apertures for spatial filtering aboard NASA’s Messenger Mission. We personally hand delivered these critical apertures to the engineers at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Lenox Laser took the opportunity of the visit to show engineers some of the latest fiber laser technology that is being developed by IPG Photonics.

The Messenger is scheduled to leave July 30th, 2004 and should fly by Venus in October 2006 and then finally reach Mercury by January 2008.

NASA Galileo Mission

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For this pioneer mission to Jupiter, Lenox Laser drilled precision 19.5 micron holes in Hasteloy discs for a Helium Leak Detector. Galileo Spacecraft

National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST): Lenox Laser Fabricated an array of 5,000 orifices, each less than five microns, on a stainless steel conflat, for use as a standard, midrange high vacuum leak.

To learn more visit Galileo Spacecraft

NASA Kepler Mission

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This special purpose space mission that has been proposed to NASA Headquarter’s Discovery Program as a practical method for detecting Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets, that is, rocky and Earth-size. Lenox Laser fabricated a custom Starfield Plate for the Kepler Mission.

Quote from NASA’s Kepler Mission Web Site

“The star plate has a large number of holes of various sizes (used to perform time-variant relative photometry) and they are placed in many locations across the field-of-view to support the suite of tests described earlier. 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 diameter (for the mv=19 stars).

There are 84 holes for the 9<14 target stars in the uncrowded region of the plate. These are used to isolate the effects of faint background stars, bright stars, smearing, etc. Some of these have very nearby stars as faint as mv=19 to demonstrate that stars five magnitudes fainter than the target star are not a problem even when spacecraft jitter is simulated. Bias-Smear Graphic of 84 Star plate Array There is a crowded portion of the plate with 1540 stars having the same star field density to mv=19 as the actual Cygnus region to be viewed by the Kepler Mission. This region was used to demonstrate the ability to perform the high-precision relative photometry even in crowded fields."

Dr. David Koch – Deputy Principal Investigator, Kepler Mission
Kepler Website – NASA

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