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Irix Lenses Fly Higher than the Sky – Literally!

Irix 300SR lens on its satellite mount

Irix is proud to announce their latest-awarded honor: the opportunity to “slip the surly bonds of Earth” and reach higher than ever before! Today, April 17, 2019, Poland launched its first Earth Observation nanosatellite into orbit, equipped with an Irix specialty Lens!

This auspicious launch occurred at 4:46PM at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops, Virginia. The Antares Rocket carried the precious cargo successfully into space. The content of the official press release is below. Next time you look toward the stars, keep in mind that Irix is up there, looking down at you!

A young photographic company, Irix is reaching infinity… literally.

Irix, a young company which successfully entered the photography world only a few years ago with innovative and expertly designed products is reaching another level of evolution. Quality, durability and precision were always strong points of Irix. It has been just proven. Irix has been selected as a partner in an exciting, high technology project. !

The Irix Team is proud to announce its participation in the project for the first Polish Earth observation satellite named Światowid. Nanosatellite equipped with the test platform of future Irix 300SR lens, on April 17, 2019, will be elevated to Earth’s orbit!

The collaboration between the manufacturer of Irix lenses and the SatRevolution company began in mid 2017. The result of this collaboration is the first prototype of the Irix 300 SR experimental lens, which, combined with the camera installed in the Światowid nanosatellite, will provide the best possible quality of Earth’s images from space.

Irix 300 SR – the first Space-Ready Irix lens

The technical requirements for the lens design were a real challenge for the Irix R&D department, as they included strictly defined optical parameters such as: focal length, f-number, optical resolution and minimal optical aberrations. The design of the lens also had to be modular in order to provide the possibility of use with satellites equipped with cameras of a different resolution and a specific diagonal size of the sensor. Such an optical system has to fit the designated place for the optical system in the satellite’s construction. Maximum diameter, and more importany in the case of nanosatellites, weight must be strictly controlled. (Światowid’s optical system limit is 300 grams / 0.66 lbs).

Launching standards are very important for the success of the satellite’s mission. Launching into orbit and working in open space is a complicated process. Extremely high standards in materials and technologies used must be met. The same requirements were applied to the Irix 300SR lens. The design and construction process must follow NASA guidelines for materials and technologies permitted for space flight. In other words, the Irix 300SR had to meet requirements much higher than lenses used on a daily basis by astronauts taking photographs from the International Space Station.

Today’s launch is a first step in research project supported by EU funds (Polish National Center for Research and Development). For the next several months, the Irix R&D center in Poland will be preparing the lens for its next launch. While the optical performance already meets the high standards, several individual components of the lens as well as the complete lens will have to pass various tests. Resistance to overload as well as mechanical and acoustic vibrations occurring during launch will be tested, among other things. Aging tests will verify the lens’ resistance to a wide temperature range of -50°C to 150°C (-58°F to 302°F), UV radiation and extreme vacuum conditions.

Knowledge and technologies developed for this project will be used in other lenses and products intended for the “civilian” photographic market. In other words, Irix products will become even better and more innovative.

The satellite Światowid with the test platform of future Irix 300SR lens onboard was delivered to the International Space Station via the NanoRacks operator as part of the Cygnus NG-11 Commercial Resupply Service. The launch of the Antares 230 rocket took place on April 17, 2019 at 4:46 PM EDT (20:46 UTC) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops, Virginia (US).

The Irix Team cordially invites you to visit the special website dedicated to Irix 300SR lens, at https://space.irixlens.com We also invite you to visit the SatRevolution website at https://www.satrevolution.com, where you’ll find more details about the Światowid satellite project.


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Written by Dana Crandell

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