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6.5 metre "Skymapper" dome (September 2007)

posted Sep 20, 2009, 4:09 PM by Chris Ryman   [ updated Sep 29, 2013, 1:43 AM by Chris Ryman ]

As a continuation of our success in the field of dome manufacturing, we were selected to produce the 6.5 metre dome for the Australian National University's new "Skymapper" telescope at Siding Springs Observatory. EOS (Electro Optical Systems, a division of Grumman Aerospace) requested capability statements and estimates for patterns, tooling and production of the fibreglass components from several composites manufacturers. Ryman Composites (then known as NoseCone Manufacturing) was successful both for capacity, quality and innovative proposals for the design, production, assembly, finishing and supply of the various components.

The parts are manufactured from fire retarded resin and gelcoat to tight specification for structural integrity. Further each part had a custom interior layout of insulation that was installed to provide maximum effect but minimal clearance to structural steel and intersecting parts. A system of segmentation, application and coating was developed producing an effective and acceptable inner finish.

Unfortunately all our work is only appreciated by the occasional tourist to the observatory mountain top and the CCD camera and operating equipment as the fully air-conditioned telescope housing is operated remote from Canberra and is unmanned except for maintenance.