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CONTRAVES USA UNVEILS TELESCOPE PROJECT FOR U.S. AIR FORCE; 3.5-METER SYSTEM AMONG LARGEST AND MOST PRECISE IN COUNTRY

 CONTRAVES USA UNVEILS TELESCOPE PROJECT FOR U.S. AIR FORCE;
 3.5-METER SYSTEM AMONG LARGEST AND MOST PRECISE IN COUNTRY
 PITTSBURGH, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Contraves USA has completed one of the largest and most precise telescope systems in the country and has commenced building a second, larger system for the U.S. Air Force, the company said today.
 The recently completed 3.5-meter gimballed telescope, designed and built by Contraves USA's Electro-Optics Systems group, is capable of viewing and plotting the trajectory of satellites and stars and will serve as a key tool in the Air Force's ongoing study of atmospheric turbulence. Standing more than 35 feet high and weighing more than 75,000 pounds, the $10.5 million system will be installed at the Air Force's Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.
 "The power and quality of the 3.5-meter system provide the Air Force with the precision required for accurate study of atmospheric conditions," George Dorkhom, president and CEO of Contraves USA, told national and local political, business and academic leaders at a company open house today. "Contraves USA is among the world's leading designers of astronomical instruments. It's a proud tradition that dates back nearly 100 years. Projects such as these continue Contraves' heritage of service to the scientific and defense communities."
 Selected because of its ability to accept a wide range of mirror sizes and weights, the gimbal system supports and positions the telescope in response to commands from an electronic control system. Along with the telescope structure containing the primary, secondary and tertiary mirrors, the system includes:
 -- An elevation over azimuth gimbal set containing bearings, angle position encoders, electrical drive motors, cabling, fluid service and air lines, and an optical Coude' path;
 -- Gimbal system electronics, including encoder reading and servo electronics, and motor drive power amplifiers;
 -- A control console; and
 -- An interface for inputting commands from the user's computer to the control console.
 The gimbal system is specially designed to minimize line-of-sight jitter caused by bearing motion, increasing the accuracy and clarity of visual images received by the telescope. Tracking commands begin the instant an object is seen through the telescope.
 The 3.5-meter system was designed and manufactured at Contraves USA's Pittsburgh manufacturing facility in O'Hara Township and was assembled at the company's large optical assembly facility at Keystone Commons in East Pittsburgh, Pa.
 As the project neared completion, Contraves was awarded a second project, valued at $20 million, to design, build and install a 3.67-meter telescope and base for the Air Force's Systems Command Phillips Laboratory. Now in the design phase, the 3.67-meter system, which includes a 12-foot-diameter mirror, will be installed at the Mount Haleakala astronomical observatory in Maui, Hawaii. The telescope will be used as a universal tool to complement the facility's existing scopes and measuring instruments.
 Contraves USA has designed and manufactured astronomical and electro-optical instrumentation for nearly a century. A predecessor, the John Brashear Company, began manufacturing telescopes in the late 1800s. Today, more than 75 percent of all large-aperture digitized electro-optical instrumentation in use throughout North America, Europe and Asia has been supplied by Contraves, including:
 -- A 48-inch computer-controlled telescope at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, which is used for laser geodetic, atmospheric and spectroscopic research;
 -- A 36-inch infrared system aboard NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory, which performs measurements of planetary atmospheres and extragalactic infrared radiation; and
 -- A 42-inch ground-based deep space surveillance system, which is part of the Air Force's worldwide satellite detection network.
 Founded and headquartered in Pittsburgh, Contraves USA is a member of the Oerlikon-Buhrle Group of Switzerland. Contraves USA develops and manufactures precision electro-optical, electro-mechanical, simulation, test and automation systems for commercial and military applications. The company has annual sales of more than $100 million and employs 750 people at facilities in Pittsburgh and Tampa, Fla.
 -0- 5/4/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Fine, 412-244-0388, for Contraves USA, or William A. Dornbos, vice president-human resources & administration of Contraves USA, 412-967-7801/ CO: Contraves USA ST: Pennsylvania IN: ARO SU:


DM-JG -- PG002 -- 5962 05/04/92 11:03 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 4, 1992
Words:676
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