For Release: March 24, 1998
Kimberly W. Land
RELEASE NO. 98-014
NASA AWARDS CONTRACTS FOR THE NEXT-GENERATION SPACE
NASA's Langley Research Center has awarded five contracts to
four companies to develop prototypes of cryogenic actuators for the
Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST). The NGST, a predecessor to
the Hubble Space Telescope, is a $500 million project planned for
launch some time in 2007. The actuators are corrective, movable
devices that will perform several objectives for the NGST being
developed by NASA.
The contractors will design, fabricate, and test cryogenic
actuator systems to control the figure, tip, tilt, and focus of the
primary mirror, position of the secondary mirror, and actuator
arrays for a deformable mirror as a basic contract effort.
The primary purpose of the NGST will be to view stars in the
infrared spectrum - good infrared spectroscopy requires very cold
temperatures which allows you to see red-shifted stars better to
study the origin of the universe. It will have a primary mirror
that is nearly four times as large as Hubble's. The eight meter
mirror will have much more light gathering capability than
Hubble's. Operating much farther from Earth, the NGST will have
more simplified operations, with enhanced image sharpness compared
to that of the Hubble Space Telescope.
American Superconductor Corporation based in Westborough, Mass.,
was awarded a contract for $18,750. American Superconductor Corp.
is a leader in developing commercial applications of superconductor
technology for the global electric power industry. Xinetics Inc.
was awarded a contract for $20,000. Xinetics, Inc. in Devens,
Mass., specializes in the development of cryogenic actuators for
Energen, Inc. in Billerica, Mass., has been awarded two
contracts; one for $32,900 and the other for $34,600. Energen, Inc.
develops, manufactures and markets actuators for precision
positioning, robotics and active vibration control based on
magnetic smart materials technology.
The last contract was awarded to Alson E. Hatheway (AEH), Inc.
in Pasadena, California for $41,000. AEH, Inc., recognized for its
Angstrom transducers and actuators, focuses on engineering
solutions, in the areas of precision motion, optomechanics, and
is managed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
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