Future giant telescope, european-ELT : Saffron Reosc wins the polishing of the primary mirror

The ESO (European Southern Observatory) has entrusted Saffron Reosc (a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense) the contract for the polishing process, the mounting bracket and the test of the set of segments forming the mirror M1, the primary mirror of the ELT (Extremely Large Telescope)*, the giant telescope the most powerful in the world.

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Saffron Reosc has won the fourth contract of the program, the company has already won all of the polishing and the integration of the mirrors of the project has already been assigned by the ESO : in 2015, the mirror M4 is composed of 6 segments and then in 2016 and 2017 the contracts for the production of mirrors M2 and M3 4-m.

The primary mirror of an ELT is a major success for Saffron Reosc, which is boosted through this program in the rank of world leader on the sector of mirrors astronomical for large scientific instruments, while strengthening its historic partnership with the ESO.

For a period of seven years, this program is for the industrial polishing of the 931 segments optical, including on the part of the ESO 133 segments of mirrors of spare parts as an option. Each of them is a mirror glass, aspheric, and hexagonal 1.5 m tip to tip. Once assembled, these segments will be the primary mirror of the telescope with a diameter of 39 mr.

The polishing of mirrors, high performance is one of the specialties of Saffron Reosc, who has developed a skill without equal in this area. Each segment will be polished to make surface defects so low that they would by comparison be less than the height of a small ladybird if each segment was the size of the whole of France.

To meet the challenge of the mirror M1, Saffron Reosc will create 90 highly skilled jobs to produce up to one segment per day. 50 of these jobs will be located in the establishment of Saffron to Poitiers, specializing in equipment the optical and optronic, who, on this occasion, will open a new production centre dedicated to this project. In addition, 40 jobs will be created by Saffron Reosc at Saint Pierre-du-Perray.

Martin Sion, President of Safran Electronics & Defence, said : “through the program ELT, Saffron Reosc demonstrates, once again, its technological expertise unique in the field of optical space, but also its ability to meet the needs of the ESO by an offer combining the agility of a subsidiary to the strength of the industrial tool of Safran Electronics & Defense. “.

For Philippe Rioufreyt, Chairman of Saffron Reosc : “the success of the technology in French in the framework of an international programme owes much to the confidence in the potential of scientific and industrial Saffron Reosc expressed for many years by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and by the whole of the French community of astronomy. ”

Saffron Reosc develops and produces optical, high-performance satellites, large telescopes and lasers to high energy as well as for the semi-conductor industry. In particular, the company produces mirrors for the monolithic 8-m Very Large Telescope of ESO and the telescope and the international Gemini, the segments of the mirror 11-m Gran Telescopio de Canarias, or even the mirrors of the instrument Nirspec on the James Webb Telescope and the satellite astrometry GAIA. The optical satellite Météosat, Spot and Helios have also been provided by Saffron Reosc.

*The ELT is a giant telescope whose primary mirror measures 39 m in diameter. Built in Chile on Cerro Armazones (3 046 m above sea level), it will allow to achieve significant progress in astronomy (archaeology stellar, discovery and characterization of exo-planets,…). Its “first light” is scheduled for 2024.

Safran is an international high-technology group, a leading original equipment manufacturer in the fields of Aeronautics, Space, Defence and Security (the Security activities being intended to be disposed of). Located on all continents, the Group employs 66,500 people (including Safety) for a turnover of 15.8 billion euros in 2016 (excluding the Safety). Saffron is a company listed on Euronext Paris and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50.

Saffron Reosc, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, high-technology company of Safran, is a global leader in the design, fabrication and integration of high optical performance for astronomy, the space, the large laser or the semiconductor industry in the areas of civil and defence. Founded in 1937 by Henri Chrétien, Saffron Reosc has developed a unique know-how in the world in optical astronomy from the ground. Of the study to the design and implementation to integration, Saffron Reosc offers today a complete range of high-performance-optics and equipment in opto-mechanical high-precision.
Saffron Reosc employs 150 people and is located in Saint Pierre du Perray 35 kms south-east of Paris.

For more information : www.safran-group.com , www.safran-electronics-defense.com and www.safran-reosc.com / Follow @Saffron and @SafranElecDef on Twitter

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