July 26, 2005
Millimeter-wavelength telescope will be world’s most sensitive,
General Dynamics C4 Systems has been awarded a $169 million
contract by Associated Universities Inc. (AUI) to design,
manufacture and deliver 25, 12-meter antennas for the North
American portion of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA)
project, an international astronomy facility. ALMA’s primary goal
is to provide a radio telescope array that will allow scientists
to observe and image galaxies out to the edge of the universe, and
stars and planets in their formative stages with unprecedented
Millimeter and subMillimeter-wave astronomy is the study of the
universe in the spectral region between what is traditionally
considered radio waves and infrared radiation. In this realm, ALMA
will study the structure of the early universe and the evolution
of galaxies; gather crucial data on the formation of stars and
planets; and provide new insights on our own solar system.
The first antenna is scheduled for delivery in 2007 with final
delivery of all the antennas expected by the end of 2011.
Pre-assembly work on the contract will be done at General Dynamics
C4 Systems’ Kilgore, Tex. and Duisburg, Germany facilities.
Previously, in February 2000, Vertex Antenna Systems was awarded a
contract by AUI to build one of two antenna prototypes. Vertex
Antenna Systems was later acquired by TriPoint Global
Communications. TriPoint Global Communications became part of
General Dynamics in September 2004.
ALMA is an international collaborative effort to build and operate
the world’s most sensitive millimeter and sub-millimeter
wavelength telescope. The project ultimately could consist of an
array of up to 64 antennas, and an additional compact array
supplied by Japan, all in Chile’s Atacama Desert, 16,500 feet
above sea level. The sky above the site has the clarity and
stability essential for the required level of imaging fidelity.
The antennas will work together as one telescope to provide a
spatial resolution 10 times higher than the Hubble Space
Gary Kanipe, General Dynamics C4 Systems, vice president
responsible for the program said, "Imaging qualities and the
ability to change the configuration of the antennas will make ALMA
astronomy’s most versatile imaging instrument. “General Dynamics
has reached an unprecedented level of radio telescope
sophistication as evidenced by the decision to award the ALMA
ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of North
America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO),
operated by AUI for the National Science Foundation. ALMA is a
partnership between North America (the United States and Canada),
Europe, and Japan, in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The
NRAO received funding for ALMA in North America from the U.S.
National Science Foundation in cooperation with the National
Research Council of Canada.
information on General Dynamics C4 Systems antennas contact Jimene
Conn, at 770-689-2052 or via e-mail at
General Dynamics C4 Systems offers a family of satellite and
wireless communications products and services under its VertexRSI,
Prodelin, and Gabriel brands. Visit our web site at
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