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Materion Engineers Awarded 2017 SPIE George W. Goddard Award

George Allen and Tom Mooney of Materion Precision Optics, Westford, MA are members of the New Horizons Instrument Team which has been awarded the SPIE George W. Goddard Award for 2017. The Materion employees provided critical high performance optics and coatings for “Ralph” to Ball Aerospace, the instrument designer and integrator. New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe on a NASA mission to examine Pluto and the Kuiper Belt at the edge of our solar system. The spacecraft was launched in January 2006 and has been conducting studies since the summer of 2015.

“Ralph” is a core instrument of seven carried by New Horizons. It is a visible/infrared imager which combines panchromatic and color imaging capabilities with IR imaging spectroscopy. Its primary purpose is to map the surface geology and composition of objects, but it is also used for atmospheric studies and to map surface temperatures.

Other Ralph team members included in the Award are from Southwest Research Institute (principal investigator), Ball Aerospace (instrument prime contractor), Harvard (New Horizons science team), Corning Inc. (diamond-turned optics) and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (New Horizons project management & science team). The team is expected to receive the award at the SPIE Annual Meeting in August 2017.

The George W. Goddard Award is given annually in recognition of exceptional achievement in optical or photonic technology or instrumentation for earth or planetary or astronomical science, reconnaissance or surveillance from airborne or space platforms. The award is for the invention and development of a new process or technique, technology, instrumentation, or system.