NEWTON, N.C., June 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies, a part of General Dynamics C4 Systems, will build and install a 100-ton, 12-meter (40-foot), submillimeter-wavelength radio telescope antenna for the new Large Latin American Millimeter Array (LLAMA) observatory. The LLAMA project is a joint venture between Argentina and Brazil to provide scientists from around the world with a high-powered 'lens' to study black holes, the molecular evolution of interstellar clouds and the structure of the universe. The new antenna will be similar to the 25 SATCOM Technologies-built radio telescope antennas operating at the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory that is located 200 km (124 miles) from the LLAMA site, in the Chilean portion of the Atacama Desert.
"The SATCOM Technologies-built radio antennas are engineering wonders that weigh more than 100-tons with manufacturing tolerances measuring half the diameter of a human hair," said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems. "These grand-scale scientific instruments, built by General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies, help scientists discover new information about the universe at a microscopic level."
Located 4,850 meters (16,000 ft.) above sea-level in the Atacama Desert in Argentina, the LLAMA radio telescope is scheduled for operation beginning in 2017 and will operate in the 90 to 700 GHz frequency band. Equipped with extremely sensitive receivers and control and data processing systems, the antenna will work as an independent telescope. It will also be one of the first radio telescopes to operate in the Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) mode in Latin America, which will begin operations in 2018.
The LLAMA antenna is also planned to work in concert with the ALMA observatory since both LLAMA and ALMA observatories are located in South America's Atacama Desert. By placing radio telescope antennas at greater distances from one to another, more scientific information can be collected. An example of this radio-telescope array design concept is the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) in South Africa. SATCOM Technologies is also building the 64 MeerKat radio telescope antennas for the SKA.
The Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil awarded the contract to build the LLAMA radio telescope antenna to General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies' VERTEX ANTENNENTECHNIK organization located in Duisburg, Germany.
Since 1968, General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies has been a global leader designing and building some of the world's most advanced optical telescope mirror structures and radio telescope antennas. The company's telescope structures and antennas can be found throughout North America, South America, Australia, Europe, India, the Arctic Circle and the South Pole.
General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies, part of General Dynamics C4 Systems, is a leading supplier of next-generation base station and earth station communications products and services, satellite antennas and antenna systems and cyber-secure wireless communication products.
More information about General Dynamics is available at www.generaldynamics.com.
SOURCE General Dynamics C4 Systems