Aeronautical University (ERAU)
is currently undergoing a remarkable transformation. The University recently celebrated a Grand Opening
for the Jim W. Henderson Administration & Welcome Center.
"It's exciting to be back on campus," said Embry-Riddle President Dr. John P. Johnson. "There's
really no substitute for daily interaction (with our students, faculty and staff) and this striking new
building puts us back where we belong."
Next on the ERAU schedule and currently under construction is a $39 million College of Arts and Sciences
(COAS) building. The
140,000 square-foot structure will be the largest building on campus.
The new COAS rooftop observatory will boast the largest university-owned telescope in Florida: a 40-inch
Classical Cassegrain telescope manufactured by DFM Engineering!
The Physical Sciences department will occupy about half of the building. The Space Physics program focuses
on Space Science with emphasis on solar system physics, planetary science and astrophysics. The program
shares its facilities and course work with the highly successful, accredited Engineering Physics program,
the largest of its kind in the United States.
The department research
program is internationally acclaimed in the fields of space physics, spacecraft instrumentation, spacecraft
dynamics and control, robotics, remote sensing and atmospheric physics.
Dr. Frank Melsheimer, of DFM Engineering, worked closely with Dr. Robert Fleck, Physical Sciences Interim
Department Chair, and Damon Burke, Atmospheric Physics Research Specialist through the various stages of
planning and development of the observatory.
The observatory and telescpoe package will feature a DFM Dome Azimuth and Shutter control and will function
with a GPS time system for precise accuracy.
The observatory has a 32 ft. dome and will be computer controlled with the software developed by DFM to
function in harmony with the movements of the telescope. Observatory
Design considerations (pier placement, structure, floor layout, power, thermal control, control room
location, etc.) are the expertise of Dr. Melsheimer.
"Only the highest quality optics are implemented in every DFM telescope as they are an extremely critical
element of our system," said Dr. Melsheimer. The telescope
optics, which are produced, polished and tested in the DFM Optics shop achieve very high quality
be provided a 3 element field corrector, which is used to enhance off-axis performance and reduce astigmatism
in atmospheric physics research projects.
The superior fork mount design
and state of the art telescope
control system (TCS) are also standard in DFM's telescopes.
"We provide more than just a telescope, we provide advice based upon decades of experience, design
services, hardware, and software for the complete observatory," said Dr. Melsheimer.
Telescope installation is planned for 2014.