Charlie Mac and Associates

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Hubble trouble and getting smarter

I’ve always loved all aspects of flying and the stories around it. I joined the Royal Australian Air Force as a radar engineer in my early twenties after doin’ my time at uni. I learned to fly and by a stroke of good luck obtained my recreational pilot licence a few years ago. But it was in my forties that I joined Ball Aerospace Technologies Corporation (BATC) and learned of an amazing story surrounding the Hubble Telescope that now sets the scene for the work we do at Charlie Mac.

When the Hubble Telescope went up on the Discovery in 1990, it carried a massive mirror for focusing light from galaxies far away onto an image sensor. It wasn’t until Hubble was deployed that aberrations in the mirror became apparent. The images were wobbly. A colleague of mine from Lockheed Martin mentioned that two mirrors were in fact made – one that went to space and another (made by Kodak) went to the Smithsonian to be put on display. And the one in the Smithsonian was perfect – the one in space wasn’t. Funny that they got mixed up. Anyhow, BATC ran the project to build the fix – being an array of lenses on mechanical arms to counteract the aberrations.

Hubble, and now James Webb, are about gaining another perspective and although this may pose challenges – this new perspective makes you smarter. Just like Alan Kay says – Perspective is worth 80 IQ points! Charlie Mac is about gaining and acting on a better perspective. And it might just happen that through one way or another that we make you a little smarter…

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