Axsys Technologies, Inc. , a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of precision opto-mechanical components and assemblies found in high performance aerospace, defense and commercial equipment and systems announced today that it is part of the team that has been selected by Northrop Grumman Corporation to produce the mirrors to be included in NASA's James Webb Space Telescope ("JWST").
The beryllium mirror team is lead by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation and, in addition to Axsys, includes Brush Wellman Inc. and Tinsley Laboratories. Brush Wellman will provide the beryllium material to Axsys. As a member of the team, Axsys will produce the beryllium mirror substrates and support structures for an engineering development unit, 18 optical mirror segments and two spare units and support structures that comprise the 6.5 meter primary mirror as well as the secondary mirror. The mirror substrates would then be polished and tested by Tinsley Laboratories. Ball Aerospace would then assemble the mirrors and support structures into the optical subsystem.
As the world's leading fabricator of large beryllium mirror substrates and structures used on numerous space and defense applications, Axsys expects its selection to result in a multi-year, multi-million dollar order with production delivery beginning in 2005 and continuing for three years.
The selection of beryllium for the mirror components of the telescope provided significant weight savings for the JWST program. While the JWST will be 2.5 times the diameter of the Hubble Space Telescope, by using beryllium mirrors as opposed to low-expansion glass optics, the JWST will weigh one-third as much. As a result of the large size of the mirror, the JWST will be orders of magnitude more sensitive than ground-based infrared telescopes in searching for the first stars and galaxies formed in the universe billions of years ago.
Stephen W. Bershad, Chairman and CEO commented: "All of us at Axsys are extremely proud to have our unique capabilities applied to this important program. We look forward to the discoveries the JWST will bring about." C.R. "Bud" Jenkins, President of Axsys' Aerospace and Defense Group added: "Axsys' Precision Machined Products division, located in Cullman, Alabama, has been the leading supplier of beryllium optical substrates and other precision machined structures for use in space exploration programs for decades. The years of experience, dedication and quality of our employees was a significant factor in our being chosen as a participant on the JWST team."
Axsys Technologies, Inc. is a vertically integrated supplier of precision optical and motion control components and assemblies for high-technology applications, serving the aerospace, defense, semiconductor, graphic arts and health imaging markets. For more information, contact Axsys Technologies, Inc., at http://www.axsys.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. One can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of the words such as "expect," "anticipate," "plan," "may," "will," "estimate" or other similar expressions. Because such statements apply to future events, they are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially. Important factors, which could cause actual results to differ materially, are described in Axsys' reports on Form 10-K and 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.