General Dynamics has completed delivery of radio-telescope antennas to an observatory for studying stars, the company announced Thursday.
The company said it provided 25 antennas to the Joint Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array, known as ALMA, for acquiring radio signals emitted from dust and gas traveling across space.
Employees for the company’s SATCOM technology business hand-built the 24 antennas preceding the final delivery, said Chris Marzilli, president of the C4 systems business unit.
(click here for our coverage of General Dynamics’ work on the Air Force‘s Space Fence radar).
The 115-ton radio-telescope antenna will complete final integration and testing before moving to the Chile-based ALMA observatory’s array operations site, located 16,400 feet above sea level in the Andes mountains.
ALMA partners in Europe and Japan will also provide antennas to the observatory, a project led by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and operated by Associated Universities.
The U.S. National Science Foundation, National Research Council of Canada and National Science Council of Taiwan support the project.
General Dynamics said the dry air at that location is too thin for humans to work without oxygen.
An on-site supercomputer processes data from radio signals, giving scientists a three-dimensional view of images.
ALMA recently identified sugar molecules inside a gas cloud around a young star with the antennas, representing the first time sugar has been found in the space around that size of a star, according to the company.