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Ball and NASA Team on Roman Space Telescope

May 10, 2021
Ball Aerospace completes critical design review of its work on the wide-field instrument for NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, due to launch in the mid-2020s with a field of view of more than 100X that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (Beavercreek, OH), working with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has completed its critical design review of the wide-field instrument (WFI) for NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. Formerly known as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), the Roman Space Telescope uses infrared (IR) detection technology to seek out dark energy as it seeks out planets beyond our solar system. It is capable of a field of view more than 100 times  that of the Hubble Space Telescope, with the same resolution.

The Roman Space Telescope (see figure) uses a 7.9-ft. (2.4-m) primary mirror for the wide field of view and efficient scanning of the IR sky. NASA scientists are estimating that the novel IR telescope has the potential to detect over a billion galaxies over the course of its mission. Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, vice-president and general manager, Civil Space, Ball Aerospace, explained: “Now that we have passed this critical milestone, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with NASA as we move from the design phase and into building and integrating the instrument.  It’s always exciting to get to the hardware build, and particularly in this case as WFI is the central science instrument on Roman.”

Ball’s primary responsibility on the WFI is the opto-mechanical assembly, including the optical bench, thermal control system, optics, electronics, and calibration system. As part of working with NASA as part of an almost 60-year relationship, Ball contributed earlier on the design and development of the Hubble Space Telescope with seven different instruments along with its optical technology. NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is expected to launch in the mid-2020s.        

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