Harris Corp. helped construct the lunar orbiters used in the moon landing

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Kodak isn’t the only local company with a history in space travel. Harris Corporation also did its part in preparing for the lunar landings 50 years ago by helping construct the lunar orbiters.

The anniversary of apollo 11 holds a lot of memories for people at L3 Harris. It is a part of history they contributed to and will never forget.

“That’s the way we photographed the pictures and scanned them and transmitted them and reconstructed them on the ground,” said Engineer Jeff Wynn.

Before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin could land on the moon, there were the lunar orbiter missions.

“The purpose of the lunar orbiter was to map the surface of the moon. Looking for suitable landing sites for Apollo 11. So we basically photographed over 90% of the entire moon surface,” said Wynn.

The lunar orbiter was responsible for taking pictures of the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon.

“The lunar orbiter was very unique, it was the most complicated optical system I had ever seen,” said Wynn. “More complicated than what we make today.”

The former L3 Harris technician is proud of what he was doing the moment Apollo 11 landed.

“In 1969 when he did land I was glued to the television watching it basically to see how smooth it was going to be where he landed.”

L3 Harris’ space division has a long history of working with NASA. As they continue to work with NASA, they’re building new technologies to uncover the mysteries of space.

Laura Abplanalp is the Director of Civil and Commercial Imaging Space & Airborne Systems for L3 Harris.

“We were the contractors that integrated and designed the Chandra X-ray Telescope and that has been working for 20 years for NASA right now. And we were responsible for developing the James Webb Telescope,” said Abplanalp.

Currently, the company is working on the first space telescope. They will be delivering it to NASA in 2023.

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