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Optical Design & Engineering

Gary Matthews: The evolution of mirrors for imaging from space

Key components for many of earth-observation satellites and the major ground- and space-based telescopes have been designed and manufactured by Exelis.

16 January 2014, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201401.01

Gary Matthews is the Director of Astronomy Systems at Exelis Geospatial Systems (McLean, Virginia). He also has managed the James Webb Space Telescope Alignment, Integration, and Test Program since 2007. He leads space science programs including the Wide Field IR Survey Telescope studies (WFIRST and AFTA) and the search for Earth-like planets, in addition to ground-based systems such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) secondary mirror, Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) primary mirror segment production, and the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT) programs. The Astronomy business area also is involved in technology development programs for future optical systems.

Matthews joined Eastman Kodak Company's Federal Systems Division (formerly ITT Space Systems and now Exelis Geospatial Systems) in 1979 as a structural analyst for large optical systems development. During his three-decade tenure at Exelis, Matthews has developed extensive experience in the design, development, integration, and test of large, complex optical systems. This includes working on deployable systems programs such as ITT's Space-Based Laser configuration and the James Webb Space Telescope. He was also the ITT program manager responsible for the design, processing, integration, and test of the Advanced Mirror System Demonstrator mirror. The successful development and test of a 12-kg/m2 mirror and understanding the interactions of mirror and system design is critical to the successful system implementation. Matthews was also the Chief Engineer for the High Resolution Mirror Assembly on the Chandra X-ray Observatory which was launched in 1999.

Matthews is the author of numerous SPIE papers on the development of optics and related systems, including ultra-lightweight mirrors. He published a paper on the cost metrics of large optical systems and 10 years of Chandra operations in June 2010. He also has served on several program committees for SPIE conferences on optical manufacturing and space telescope technologies.

Matthews earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Rochester.

Exelis is an aerospace, defense, information and services company with expertise in timing and navigation, sensors, air traffic solutions, image processing and distribution, communications and information systems, logistics and technical services.