November 8, 2014 – Lockheed Martin has partnered with the University of Arizona to operate the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) located on Maunakea, Hawaii. The agreement expands the corporation’s support of scientists pursuing a broad range of research, from the study of orbital debris to deep space astronomy.
For 35 years, UKIRT has been one of the most productive observatories in the world, with more than 200 scientific publications annually. The largest IR telescope in the Northern Hemisphere, UKIRT’s ownership transferred from the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to the University of Hawai‘i in October.
“Our team, composed of the universities of Arizona and Hawai‘i and NASA, will extend the life of this important telescope,” said Matthew Bold, Lockheed Martin program manager. “We plan to grow capability and continue addressing pressing questions about our universe, as well as the space surrounding our planet.”
Located at one of the best sites for infrared astronomy, UKIRT and its wide range of instruments will continue to study the evolution of the universe from the big bang to present. At the same time, its mission will be expanded to study near-earth space debris and asteroids. Working with the NASA Orbital Debris Program Office at the Johnson Space Center, Lockheed Martin is studying the potential impact space debris could have on operating satellites and the effects on global communication, weather prediction, resource management, disaster preparedness and commerce.