Talk about hometown pride now. Harris Corporation is celebrating the completion of its largest project ever here in Rochester, that will one day produce the widest views of the universe.
Hundreds of Harris employees have been working on it for the last five years, engineering a 12 foot, 3,500 pound mirror that will be incorporated into the The National Science Foundation's telescope in Chile. It will take images of the southern night sky every few days for more than ten years, helping scientists detect potentially hazardous asteroids and new solar systems.
The Rochester built mirror is currently on a vessel making its way down the Panama Canal to the coast of Chile. It'll then be transported to a mountain top and installed.
It is the largest active secondary mirror system in the world and it was constructed here in Rochester with its glass manufactured in Corning.
"For the last five years our team has been building this and completing it all with people in Rochester," said Laura Abplanalp, Harris Corp. "There were over a couple hundred people that supported this program. And unusual for us, most of our things go into space. This one was so large that it had to be transported on a barge to Chili, to South America where it will be installed."
Harris employees here say they'll be able to apply skills learned in this project to other ground based space observatories that are in development today.