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Image courtesy of Malin Space Science Systems



Pacific Coast Optics’ many years experience in fabricating camera lenses for use in space for NASA  is illustrated in our showcase of photos.   Note:  One was created for lab use as noted, all others are planned to fly to Mars aboard the Mars Science Lab (MSL) rover in 2011, delayed by NASA from its original date of 2009. 




  1. ALSE  (space): The PCO fabricated f/5, 6-element, double-gauss design transfer lens traveled to the moon aboard Apollo 17.   A three-wavelength synthetic aperture radar operating at 60 m, 20 m and 2 m (5, 15, and 150 MHz).

  2. CTX collimator (lab use):  The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) is designed to obtain grayscale (black & white) images of Mars at 6 meters per pixel scale over a swath 30 kilometers wide. CTX provides context images for the MRO HiRISE and CRISM.  PCO manufactured all optical elements for this Maksutov telescope used to focus the "flight CTX camera"; Malin Space Science Systems integrated the elements into the housing and aligned it at our California factory.

  3. L MARDIWF lens (space): The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will acquire hundreds of natural color images at a rate of 4 frames per second during MSL’s descent to the martian surface in July/August 2010.  PCO fabricated the 1st, 2nd, 4th & 6th elements of this 7 element refractive optical system.  The lens was eventually built at MSSS, integrated with camera electronics and completed camera delivered to JPL last year.

  4. MSL MastCam lenses (space): a) PCO repolished band-pass filter substrates that have been used to produce filters for the MastCam cameras.  b) PCO coated the MSSS-provided polished Sapphire windows, two of which have been integrated into the lens systems.

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