ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A local, long-time manufacturing company was able to create some more jobs with a new, $30 million project. It’s the first telescope Ingersoll Machine Tools has ever made.
We got to go inside Ingersoll today to check out the in-progress telescope first hand.
It’s called ATST, the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope.
The world’s most powerful Solar Telescope that will eventually sit on the island of Maui. Right now it sits on the floor of the Ingersoll in Rockford, where it’s being assembled. The project that started at the end of 2011 is now 50% completed.
“It will be looking at the corona of the sun to observe primarily the effects of solar flares on our environment and on the satellites and our infrastructure.”
“This part of the telescope weights more than half a million pounds, It’s more than 50 feet tall and 50 feet wide, and it’s not done yet. They still have another section to add to the top.”
Once that’s done, this telescope will be more than 100 feet tall. A team of eight is working hard on this project which has created six new jobs and maintained another 20 positions. The machine is also helping other local businesses.
“90% of everything you see behind me is steel that was fabricated in the Rockford area, was machined in the Rockford area, and was assembled in the Rockford area. This project has ahead a strong effect on the economy outside of Ingersoll.” said Director of Sales, Mike Reese.
Ingersoll will finish the telescope by the end of this year. It will then be disassembled, shipped, and reassembled in Maui.
It will take about two years to assemble and perfect, but the telescope should be operational by 2017. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation. It’s part of President Obama’s “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”