Update on The NASA Messenger

Courtesy of NASA

The NASA Messenger satellite was the seventh discovery mission ever launched by the company and the first-ever fly past Mercury. Its intended purpose was to study the geological environment of the planet as well as its surface. Several days ago, the systems on board the Messenger recorded a meteoroid striking Mercury’s surface. It’s estimated that it measured three feet in length. The Messenger expedition lasted from 2011 to 2015. The Messengers Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer helped capture the possible evidence readings and amounts of sodium and silicon ions within planets solar winds. The meteoroid would come from an asteroid belt some 200 million miles away from Mercury using the information from those particles.

Scientists could do a reverse time-lapse using the particles found in the solar winds and determined that the particles found were younger than initially thought. On the sun side of the planet, it was discovered that the particles were traveling in an extremely tight beam of light like a wave, all at the exact same time and speed. This allowed them to track the sun particles back to their source and found that a cluster of particles erupted on Mercury and scattered nearly 300 miles into the vastness of space. Powerfully charged gases also disperse from rays of light from the solar winds. Hypothetically maybe two or three impacts happened per year during Messenger’s mission lifespan. Unfortunately, none of those were captured in any of the images from the mission.

Messengers’ origins date back all the way from July 1999, when it was first selected as the seventh discovery satellite, to July 2001, when final construction began. August 2004 is when the mission launched. It completed flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury starting in August 2005 and ending with the Mercury flyby in September 2009. The satellite completed its mission in 2015. 

To see a detailed timeline of the Messenger mission, please click here.

NASA Kepler Mission: Update


The NASA Kepler mission is currently in its second phase of operation since the recovery of the craft and launch of K2. A couple of years ago Kepler lost some important technology and had to return to Earth, but now with K2 being launched, the campaigns can continue.
The mission still retains its original goal of discovering earth-like planets and determining if any are habitable.
Lenox Laser was responsible for fabricating what the scientists over at NASA call the Starfield Plate. This plate consists of stainless steel laser drilled with an array of holes as small as 3 microns in diameter with the purpose of performing photometry.

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NASA Stereo Mission: Update


The STEREO probes continue to orbit the earth and obtain data despite completing its mission two years into the mission.October 1st, 2014, communications were disrupted between NASA and the Behind craft after a planned reset of the spacecraft’s systems. Ongoing attempts to resume communications with the Behind STEREO are happening. The two probes still monitor solar and heliospheric activity currently.

Lenox Laser fabricated custom parts 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. Without the assistance of the company the project nearly ended, for our help NASA awarded our team the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Instrument Systems and Technology Division 2006 Contractor Team Spirit Award.

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NASA Messenger Mission: Update


The Messenger mission came to an official end the previous year in 2015 with a planned impact with Mercury’s surface

The spacecraft began orbiting Mercury on March 17, 2011 and orbited a total of 4,105 times.The craft was successfully able to receive all the data it was sent to collect and more, wildly exceeding its expectations, recording information on magnetic anomalies, ice filled craters, and other previously undiscovered features of the planet. Lenox Laser was responsible for fabricating the High Power Ceramic Apertures used for spatial filtering aboard the NASA Messenger space craft. The filters were used to enhance the power of Messenger’s optics.

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NASA STEREO Mission: Update


In 2006 Lenox Laser helped the NASA STEREO Mission get back on its feet by assisting on a critical test in which we precision drilled many optical apertures for the mission. STEREO is a solar observation mission that launched in 2006. It consists of two mostly identical spacecrafts which orbit the Sun. This has allowed them to preform steroscopic imaging of the Sun and other solar phenomena. You can see the the glorious results of the NASA STEREO Mission that Lenox Laser was essential in rescuing.

2nd International Light Seminar- Dr John C Mather


Dr. John C. Mather in his office at Goddard Space Flight Center Credit: NASA
Dr. John C. Mather in his office at Goddard Space Flight Center
Credit: NASA

Dr John C Mather is our guest and speaker of honor at our 2nd International Light Seminar here at Lenox Laser. For a more complete biography and list of accomplishments, you can see John Mather’s NASA profile.

We are very happy to have him and continue to have Nobel Prize winners speak at our seminars. His chosen topic is: “The Universe in a Nutshell.” I don’t think he’ll have to worry about finishing early with that topic!

Dr. John C. Mather at the Nobel Award ceremony, standing with his award. Copyright @ The Nobel Foundation 2006 Photo: Hans Mehlin
Dr. John C. Mather at the Nobel Award ceremony, standing with his award.
Copyright @ The Nobel Foundation 2006
Photo: Hans Mehlin

Guest Speaker List for 2nd International Light Seminar


Featured Speaker:

Nobel Laureate 2006 Physics
Senior Astrophysicist & Goddard Fellow, NASA
Senior Project Scientist, James Webb Space Telescope

“The Big Bang Theory” and the James Webb Space Telescope


Guest Speakers:

Professor of Mathematics, Towson University
President – “Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music & Science”
“The Art and Mathematics of Star Polygons”


Senior Scientist, Canadian Space Agency

“Novel Concepts & Application of Lidar: From the Bottom of the Ocean to Mars”

Professor in & Head of Child Neurology
Tashkent Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education

“Imaging & Mathematical Methods in Diagnostics”

Lenox Laser and NASA- Pioneering in Space


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

Mercury Messenger Mission


NASA’s Mercury MESSENGER Mission was launched from Cape Canaveral on August 3, 2004. Lenox Laser, Inc. was commissioned by NASA to fabricate High Power Ceramic Apertures for spatial filtering which required laser drilling holes (a few microns in diameter) with great accuracy and precision. Ceramic is just one of many readily available materials Lenox Laser is able to process to custom specifications with a relatively short lead time.

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space, ENvironmental, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is scheduled to “flyby” Mercury on October 6, 2008, and ultimately be inserted in the planet’s orbit by March 18, 2011. The Lenox Laser engineering and production teams take great pride in their “microscopic” contribution to the advancement of our knowledge of the solar system and of the universe.

Nasa Stereo Mission


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.

Lenox Laser’s role was critical to 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.

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