Corning donates $1.8M in equipment to BoldlyGo Astro-1 space telescope project

An announcement from the BoldlyGo Institute:

BoldlyGo Institute & Corning Incorporated Announce $1.8 Million
Equipment Gift For Astro-1 Space Telescope Project

With Long History of Working on Astronomical Telescopes, Corning Donates Key
Components of 1.8-Meter Space Telescope Primary Mirror

BoldlyGo Institute Aims to Launch ASTRO-1 by Mid-2020’s

New York, NY (July 29) — The BoldlyGo Institute (BGI) – a new, privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing space science and exploration – and Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) today announced the charitable donation of the principal components for a 1.8-meter space telescope primary mirror for BGI’s ASTRO-1 space telescope project.

Corning has a long tradition of manufacturing key optical components for ground-based and space-based astronomical telescopes in the United States and around the world, and had previously developed these components that were “abandoned in place” after the NASA program they were originally intended for was cancelled. The estimated value of the equipment is $1.8 million.

“This generous gift marks an important step forward for the BoldlyGo Institute and the ASTRO-1 space telescope project,” said Dr. Jon Morse, chief executive officer of BGI and former Director of Astrophysics at NASA Headquarters. “Corning has made numerous contributions to frontier space science missions, and this donation makes it possible for ASTRO-1 to continue in that great tradition.”

“For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have transformed scientific research – including window glass for all of NASA’s manned spacecraft missions and the International Space Station. The work of the BoldlyGo Institute and the ASTRO-1 space telescope will continue this critical research for another generation and we are proud to support it,” said Curt Weinstein, vice president and general manager, Advanced Optics, Corning Specialty Materials.

The components donated by Corning will be used to conduct one of two world-class scientific missions unveiled by BoldlyGo in June, the ASTRO-1 space telescope. Scientists will use the ASTRO-1 space telescope to accomplish a wide range of scientific programs impacting topics across space astronomy, including the study of exoplanets orbiting near stars, the structure of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, and cosmology. ASTRO-1 is designed to support goals and objectives described in major scientific, technical and programmatic reports by NASA, the National Research Council, and other science community-based organizations. ASTRO-1 is expected to launch by the mid-2020’s.

“As today’s announcement proves, New York not only has some of the best minds, but we have many of the leading institutions of science ready to help advance our knowledge of the cosmos,” said Congressman Paul Tonko, N.Y. – 20. “Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked to make New York a national leader in STEM education, which is why I was proud to work with the BoldlyGo Institute in the earliest stages prior to their public launch. I want to applaud Corning and the BoldlyGo Institute for developing this partnership, which should help to advance discoveries in space science and ultimately provide our students with a wonderful opportunity to better understand the universe.”

Earlier this month, Corning Incorporated announced the delivery of custom optical components to NASA for use in its OSIRIS-REx mission, the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will visit a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu, launching in 2016 and reaching the asteroid in 2018. After a detailed study, the spacecraft will obtain a sample and return to Earth in 2023.

Corning’s previous contributions to science have enabled seminal discoveries, such as the multitude of planetary systems orbiting distant stars detected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Corning also produced the Hubble Space Telescope primary mirror and optics for ground-based systems such as the Subaru and the two Gemini eight-meter class telescopes. For ASTRO-1, Corning is donating six ULE® lightweighted core segments, which currently reside at the Corning Plant in Canton, N.Y.

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with Corning, a company with a storied history in space systems and scientific discovery,” added Steve Battel, member of the BoldlyGo Institute Board of Directors and President of Battel Engineering. “They have generously placed these seeds of new discoveries in our hands. Our plan is to move quickly to advance the system design and hardware development for ASTRO-1 with the objective of continuing and enhancing the incredible and unique legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope and other space observatories.”

BGI is fostering a new era of space science based on the idea that a private organization funded by small and large dollar donors can increase the number and variety of space science missions conducted, leading to more data, more discoveries and increased knowledge about the universe and our place in it. As part of their NewSpace Science movement, the BoldlyGo Institute strives to:

  • Accelerate world-class scientific discovery using the space environment;
  • Transform the funding model for space science and exploration;
  • Redefine the management model for advanced spacecraft development;
  • Engage faculty and students at universities in experiential science & engineering activities, and;
  • Create tangible impacts in public engagement through citizen science and participatory exploration.

BoldlyGo Institute is based in New York and is led by a highly qualified and reputable Board of Directors, comprising space scientists, engineers and explorers, with decades of combined space involvement, including recent senior leadership experience across NASA developing space hardware and flying in space. For more information about our Board, our missions and to support the effort, please go to