Dr. Lopez and Purchasing Director Bill Schattschneider

New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López (left) and Bill Schattschneider, director of purchasing at Tech, look over the $4.5 million contract the university recently awarded to EOS Technologies, Inc. of Tucson.

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., October 4, 2004 – New Mexico Tech has signed a $4.5 million contract with EOST Technologies, Inc. to have the Tucson-based company build a 2.4-meter optical telescope for the research university's soon-to-be- constructed Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO), a state-of-the-art astronomical research facility that will be located atop the Magdalena Mountains in south-central New Mexico.

EOST, which specializes in developing large optical telescopes and optical systems for astronomy, satellite laser ranging, and space surveillance, will develop the telescope for the MRO project utilizing a 2.4-meter telescope mirror that was donated to New Mexico Tech by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

The large mirror, one of the principal components of optical telescopes, was originally designed as one of three prototypes built for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Once completed, the MRO facility, which will include the 2.4-meter telescope and a multielement interferometric array, will sit along the main ridge of the Magdalena Mountains at an elevation of more than 10,600 feet, making it the second highest observatory in North America.

“First light,” the moment a new telescope first receives and processes light from a distant star, is projected to occur on September 2006 for MRO’s 2.4-meter telescope.