Harris Corp. awarded $200 million contract to build telescope for new NASA mission

    Artist's rendering of WFIRST observatory. (photo credit: NASA)

    Rochester, N.Y. - Harris Corp. has been awarded nearly $200 million from NASA to help build the agency's next major space telescope.

    Senator Chuck Schumer's office announced Wednesday that the $195.9 million is for the contract for the WFIRST Telescope.

    WFIRST stands for Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope.

    According to Schumer, the telescope "will explore an area of space 100 times bigger than the Hubble Telescope, and thus significantly enhance the precision and clarity of NASA’s view into outer space."

    The contract covers the "period of performance" from Nov. 30, 2018 through Dec. 1, 2025.

    NASA's mission is expected to support 160 jobs in Rochester.

    Harris will be in charge of the Optical Telescope Assembly for the WFIRST mission, which includes the providing the personnel, services, materials and equipment to build and modify the telescope.

    The work will be performed at the Harris' facility in Henrietta and at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

    According to NASA, the WFIRST mission's initial goals include "studying the newly-discovered phenomenon of dark energy, measuring the history of cosmic acceleration, completing the exoplanet census begun by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope and demonstrating technology for direct imaging and characterization of exoplanets."

    To learn more about the telescope and NASA mission, click here.

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