DFM Engineering, Inc.
1035 Delaware Ave. Unit D
Longmont, CO 80501
Phone: 303-678-8143
Fax: 303-772-9411

Professional Credentials & Personal Interests

Dr. Frank Melsheimer
President / CEO / Chief Engineer


University of California - Berkeley
Doctor of Engineering Degree
Mechanical Engineering Design

Structural Engineering
Aeronautical Engineering
Operations Management

Master of Engineering Degree
Bachelor of Engineering Degree

Dr. Frank Melsheimer is the President and founder of DFM Engineering, Inc. with over 46 years of photonics experience designing, building, and testing research grade telescopes, retrofitting and rebuilding older telescopes and control systems. He works closely with customers to determine telescope features, building and dome requirements, mirror handling, and control room size and placement.

Dr. Melsheimer and his team designed, built and tested over 100 astronomical telescopes, numerous electro-mechanical optical systems, heliostats, beam directors, satellite beam directors/trackers, Lidar scanners, spectrophotometers, electrometers, space flight instruments, and aircraft performance flight testing instrumentation.

Dr. Melsheimer, with his team, has retrofitted over 60 older telescopes with major structural and drive rebuilds incorporating the DFM Telescope Control System (TCS Galil™).

Dr. Frank Melsheimer has written multiple scientific papers for the astronomical community, many of which are currently quoted and referenced in today's marketplace and educational institutions.

For example, Dr. Melsheimer presented an AAS meeting feature paper titled: "A Very Wide Field, Very Fast Telescope" as a study of the U.S. Naval Observatory 1.3M telescope. The design performance, optical fabrication techniques, and optical test results are discussed in detail and the paper is referenced frequently.

In an engineering discussion documentation, The Optimal Telescope, Dr. Melsheimer analyzes telescope structural components such as: Steel vs. Aluminum, Geometry, Deflections, and Pointing. These, also, have been referenced regularly.

As a special credit to his integrity and thorough knowledge of the astronomical community's quality requirements, Dr. Melsheimer has written a very popular, comprehensive paper entitled: How to Buy a Telescope for Your Institution. With his many years of practical experience in the industry, he outlines the necessary steps involved in purchasing a research-grade telescope augmenting features such as: What is a telescope?, Why buy a telescope for your institution?, Cost vs. Performance, Purchasing Considerations, Quality Assurance, and Service. It is an excellent guide and safeguard when in the market for a scientific instrumentation expenditure of such high regard.

Dr. Melsheimer's extensive technical experience is obvious in his paper entitled: Comparing Telescope Drive Technologies. He offers a plethora of performance criteria with comparison charts. In this paper, he investigates the various drive technologies and discusses the advantages, disadvantages, and performance of these telescope drive systems.

Observatory Design and Construction, by Dr. Melsheimer is an excellent guide strategically outlining the necessary criteria in planning and constructing an observatory designed to house a research-grade telescope. Dr. Melsheimer's extensive experience offers a pristine perspective with practical applications coupled with modern technology solutions to current observatory design obstacles. He provides handicapped accessible features to meet current standards.

Dr. Melsheimer addresses the necessity of efficiency in an astronomical telescope by a remote user over the internet in his paper, Internet Telescope Performance Requirements. Consistently high performance from the telescope, instruments, support facilities and control system is required for successful real time direct imaging. Dr. Melsheimer thoroughly outlines these determining performance factors for research study.

Dr. Melsheimer has previously supervised the mechanical engineering department, optical and mechanical shops at Lick Observatory. He has been a member of many of the design review teams for the Keck Telescope and has designed the Transportable Lunar Ranging Station at the MacDonald Observatory.

Interests: Active racer, instructor and crew chief in two Vintage Auto Race Clubs, swimming, travel, reading science fiction, studying and speaking German, and German White wine connoisseur. Member: AAS; SPIE; OSA


California State University
Long Beach

Bachelor of Arts Degree

University of California
Los Angeles

Certified Teaching Credential

Kathryn C. Melsheimer
Secretary / Treasurer / CFO


Mrs. Kathryn Melsheimer is the General Manager of all business administration at DFM Engineering, Inc. with over 37 years of photonics experience.

She works closely with customers to administer job contracts, supervise project cost budgeting, scheduling, evaluation of shipping requirements, insurance provisions and invoicing.

Mrs. Melsheimer controls daily financial business operation matters, manages the DFM Engineering, Inc. human resources team, and administers advertising and marketing development procedures.

Mrs. Melsheimer has supported engineering and aerospace departments with her expertise in business data base programming, analysis and administration, along with practical experience as an occupational vocational instructor.

Mrs. Melsheimer is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Interests: Active racer, instructor and crew member in two Vintage Auto Race Clubs, gardening, travel, reading mysteries and historical fiction, languages and church activities, Member: AAS; Colorado Chapter of Business and Professional Women's Club, Longmont Economic Council


Mark S. Kelley, P.E.
Vice President of Engineering


University of Colorado - Boulder
Bachelor of Science

Mechanical Engineering

Mr. Mark Kelley is the Vice President of DFM Engineering, Inc. He is a Registered Professional Engineer with over 35 years of photonics experience.

Mr. Kelley is instrumental in designing, building, testing, and retrofitting telescopes at DFM Engineering. The Telescope Computer Control System (TCS Galil™) developed and perfected by Mr. Kelley is incorporated into many electro-optical mechanical instruments manufactured and installed by DFM Engineering, Inc.

He specializes in mechanical and software design and testing, instrument performance with detailed documentation, electronic fabrication supervision, and installation administration.

Mr. Kelley works closely with customers in determining control room specifications, computer requirements and implementation and installation of DFM's Telescope Control System (TCS Galil™).

Interests: Mountaineering, skiing, bicycling, photography, music, Member: AAS; ASME; American Association for the Advancement of Science


Mr. Ian Huss
Production Manager


Boulder Valley
Vocational Technical School

2000 Hour Certification

Technical and Management courses

Mr. Ian Huss is the Production Manager for DFM Engineering, Inc. with over 35 years of experience in the photonics industry.

Mr. Huss supervises all aspects of telescope and instrument production. His expertise includes coordination of personnel with project scheduling requirements, inspecting and approving work from outside vendors, review of engineering drawings, providing recommendations, performing machinist and instrument builder craftsmanship as necessary.

Mr. Huss performs national and international installations of telescopes, control systems, and mechanical hardware. He provides in-house or on-site trouble shooting expertise for customers as necessary.

Mr. Huss has received many letters of appreciation for his installation skills and telescope operations training.

Interests: Private Pilot, FAA rated aircraft repairman, Member: Master Rated Pilot/Field Examiner-US Hang Gliding Association; Technical and Flight Advisor-Experimental Aircraft Association



Engineering Articles and White Papers:

How To Buy A Telescope (.pdf 92K)

A Very Wide Field, Very Fast Telescope

The Optimal Telescope

Comparing Telescope Drive Technologies

Observatory Design and Construction

Internet Telescope Performance Requirements




Related Links:

Customer Testimonials

How To Buy A Telescope (html)

Company History

Letter From the President