KiwiStar Optics Exhibits at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2022


After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, a team from KiwiStar Optics – Dr Andrew Rakich, myself and Dave Cochrane (pictured above) – took to the skies and headed to SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2022 the symposium in Montreal, Canada.

This prestigious event, which has the aim of advancing the field of astronomical engineering, attracts the world’s leading commercial and academic developers of innovative ground-based, airborne and space-based telescopes and related technologies.

The lineup of speakers at this year’s conference included the noted space historian Robert W Smith as well as representatives of the Space Telescope Science Institute (US), the European Space Agency and NASA.

As an exhibitor, KiwiStar’s objective was to meet with existing customers, suppliers and partners and to discover details regarding forward programs and opportunities.

Dr Rakich had a busy first day at the event, delivering three papers – with only a 15-minute break in between the second and third presentations – as follows:

  • “A laser tracker-target fiducialized alignment telescope for astronomical telescope alignment”
  • “Commissioning a laser metrology truss for active optics on the Large Binocular Telescope”
  • “Absolute instruments as Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics relays”.

Links to these papers will be shortly made available through SPIE’s website.

Our booth attracted many visitors, and it was refreshing to have face-to-face discussions about new project requirements and to update the market, in person, on our latest technological developments in aspheric polishing and metrology equipment.
KiwiStar’s reputation for consistent excellence and innovation was praised in several client presentations, with the team being recognised for its positive contributions to a range of projects.

On a personal note, a particular highlight was the presentation given by Jonathan Gardner, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Project Scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, on the launch and observatory performance of the JWST.

Hearing about the initial results from the telescope, the technical challenges involved in its launch and the intricate deployment of the relevant mirrors and instruments was truly inspiring – as was viewing the stunning images taken by the JWST, which reach further than ever before.