Radio & Optical Telescopes
Helping Scientists Unravel the Mysteries of the Universe
General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies has designed, manufactured and installed over fifty major optical and radio telescopes for the scientific community worldwide. Our proven expertise in large, high performance structures and control systems allows us to build large telescopes that require the most exacting specifications and highest possible precision assembly.
Since 1968, General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies has been a global leader designing and building some of the world's most advanced optical telescope mirror structures and radio telescope antennas. Our telescope structures and antennas can be found throughout North America, South America, Australia, Europe, India, the Arctic Circle and the South Pole.
Our production ranges from optical, radar, to radio usage. We have been the supplier of choice for over 40 years in design, manufacturing and installation of major scientific telescopes worldwide. Our telescopes are highly precise and meet the most difficult specifications. Furthermore they are designed to meet the most demanding requirements and our pre-assembly reduces cost, time and field integration risk.
- Structural design and analysis
- Control system design and analysis
- Systems engineering
- Integration, testing and installation
- Design and fabrication of mirror cells and support systems
We have installed more than 50 major telescopes worldwide ranging in antenna size from three meters in diameter, to mammoth structures that are four times larger than the average house in US and weighing over 175 semi trucks. As an industry leader our precision-built telescopes and command and control systems are helping scientists unravel the mysteries of the universe from every continent.
MeerKAT Radio Telescope Array
The MeerKAT Radio Telescope array is a technologically advanced radio telescope designed to detect and map radio-frequency signals coming from the furthest reaches of the universe. When completed, the MeerKAT array will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere. General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies is partnering with Stratosat Datacom (Pty) Ltd. to supply 64 radio-telescope antennas, ancillary electronic components and support for South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope program.
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
The Atacama Large Milliometer/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory in Chile is supported by twenty five four story antennas built by SATCOM Technologies. The highly specialized radio-telescope antennas are helping astronomers study the origins of galaxies, stars, and planets. ALMA allows scientists to observe and image galaxies out to the edge of the universe, and stars and planets in their formative stages with unprecedented clarity. General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies designed and built 25 twelve-meter antennas for the North American portion of the project.
The Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope
The Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT) is a telescope that is planned to be positioned on the edge of the volcanic Purico Complex, in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The planned site would make it the highest permanent, ground-based telescopes in the world. The CCAT will be used to divulge the cosmic origins of stars, planets, and galaxies with its submillimeter cameras and spectrometers. Once completed, CCAT will be the largest and most sensitive facility of its class.
Discovery Channel Telescope
The Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) is the fifth largest optical telescope in the continental United States. The DCT is investigating a wide range of research topics including a survey of the composition of Kuiper Belt objects orbiting the sun beyond Neptune, studies of the physical properties of comets, investigations of the evolution and structure of small galaxies and studies of the masses of stars.
Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy
The Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) is a wide-held reflecting telescope located at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. VISTA is a survey telescope working at infrared wavelengths, and is by far the largest telescope in the world dedicated to surveying the sky at near-infrared wavelengths. VISTA observations support research in many astronomical areas. This aperture telescope Mount, M1 Mirror Cell, and M1 Support Actuator system were awarded to General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies in 2004 by the UK Royal Observatory.
Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope
The Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope is located on Cerro Pachón, Chile. For over 10 years the telescope has provided excellent image quality to scientists through the use of multiple instruments. The SOAR Telescope Mount was awarded to General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies by the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson, AZ, and AURA. SATCOM Technologies provided the telescope mount, drive system, Nasmyth instrument drives and cages, and controls the pointing systems.
The Green Bank Telescope
The Green Bank Telescope (GBT) is the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope, and being 60% taller than the Statue of Liberty with 16 million pounds, it is the world’s largest moveable land object. The GBT is part of the national Radio Astronomy Observatory site at Green Bank, West Virginia.