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Coherent Loans James Webb Space Telescope Demonstration Mirror to Space Foundation Discovery Center

PITTSBURGH, April 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Coherent Corp. (NYSE: COHR), a leader in advanced optical systems, announced today an agreement with the Space Foundation Discovery Center, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to provide on loan a demonstration mirror developed for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

JWST hexagonal mirror array

The JWST launched on December 25, 2021, after a 25-year construction project heralded as one of the most complex and ambitious projects in engineering and space exploration history. The telescope almost immediately revolutionized our understanding of the universe, much like the Hubble Space Telescope did, by providing unprecedented clarity and depth in its observations of the early universe, star and planet formation, and other key astronomical phenomena. Its observations are highly anticipated by the scientific community and are expected to yield groundbreaking discoveries in the years to come.

The Space Foundation Discovery Center focuses on inspiring and educating individuals of all ages about space, science, and technology. Its mission is to serve as the leading advocate and gateway for lifelong education, trusted information, and collaboration for anyone interested in space exploration and industries influenced by space. This is achieved by advancing science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) in the context of space exploration, development, and utilization. The Discovery Center is currently nearing the completion of a renovation designed to improve visitor experience and add new exhibits, such as the JWST mirror.

“The hexagonal mirrors are not only a testament to the technological expertise behind the James Webb Space Telescope, but also a symbol of the collaborative spirit driving humanity's exploration of the universe,” said Rachel English, Space Foundation Discovery Center senior curator. “We are honored to have this piece on display where it will undoubtedly inspire curiosity and ignite imaginations of Discovery Center visitors for years to come.”

The JWST mirrors represent the most visible feature of the telescope. The 6.5 meter (21.3 feet) primary mirror is comprised of 18 hexagonal segments made from beryllium and coated in gold to maximize reflectivity in the infrared spectrum. The Coherent contribution to the mirror assembly consisted of the atomic engineering of the surface and applying advanced thin-film coatings to assure durability of the JWST hexagonal mirror segments, as well as the secondary, tertiary, and fine steering mirrors. The technology innovations necessary to complete the mirrors represent a series of engineering achievements that have crossed over to commercial markets, including the OLED display panel manufacturing for mobile devices.

“The iconic hexagonal segments that form the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope comprise one of the highest performance of large-scale imaging optics used in space-based imaging,” said Dr. Chris Koeppen, Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Vice President of the Coherent Aerospace & Defense Business Unit. “We are proud of our successful history in custom and large-format optics and in successfully supplying optical and thermoelectric solutions in over one hundred space missions.”

The JWST demonstration mirror will be transferred to the Discovery Center on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in a brief ceremony at the 39th Space Symposium. Attendees are invited to join Coherent and the Discovery Center representatives for this ceremony, which will take place at 4:00 p.m. MDT.

About Coherent

Coherent empowers market innovators to define the future through breakthrough technologies, from materials to systems. We deliver innovations that resonate with our customers in diversified applications for the industrial, communications, electronics, and instrumentation markets. Headquartered in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, Coherent has research and development, manufacturing, sales, service, and distribution facilities worldwide. For more information, please visit us at

About Space Foundation

Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1983, offering information, education, and collaboration for the global space ecosystem. Driven by partnerships, Space Foundation unites the entire spectrum of stakeholders—business, government, education, and local communities—through support from corporate members, sponsors, fundraising, and grants. Visit Space Foundation at, and follow us on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


Amy Wilson
Manager, Corporate Communications

Rich Cooper
Vice President, Strategic Communications & Outreach
Space Foundation
(202) 596-0714

Dottie O’Rourke
TECHMarket Communications
(650) 344-1260

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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