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

Late Breaking News Archives 2000 - 2001

2008 - 2010
2006 - 2007
2004 - 2005
2002 - 2003
2000 - 2001


AAS meeting update!!!

DFM Engineering, Inc. is pleased to be one of the corporate sponsors for the 199th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The meeting will be held January 6-10, 2002 at the Washington Hilton Towers in Washington D.C.

We will be presenting the new OCS™ (Observatory Control System) by DFM.

Please come visit us at Booth #223.

DFM Engineering, Inc. has completed shop assembly and testing of NASA Goddard's RASL Lidar telescope.

NASA awarded the Airborne Lidar Telescope design and production to DFM Engineering earlier this year. The Ramen Airborne Spectroscopic Lidar (RASL) instrument has been designed and is now in full production at DFM Engineering.

The RASL addresses high priority NASA / Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) objectives and will be capable of a multitude of atmospheric and cloud measurements.

At the heart of the RASL instrument is a 24-inch aperture Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) designed and now under construction by DFM Engineering, Inc.

RASL Progress

NASA Goddard original assignment features

The DFM Engineering team brings new life to the 1.52M Rockefeller telescope at Boyden Observatory, South Africa with a major upgrade.

In September 2001, DFM Engineering personnel completed a major upgrade of the 1.52M telescope at the Boyden Observatory near Bloemfontein, South Africa.

With a history dating back to the 1880's, the instrument required DFM's well proven Telescope Control System, engineering and technical expertise and extensive upgrades to bring it forward in time to meet the modern demands currently made on a functioning 1.52M research telescope.

Boyden Observatory

Boyden Telescope History, Upgrades and Testing

Retrofit Consulting


Retrofit Control System

Retrofit Examples

Rankin Science Observatory at Appalachian State University has awarded the contract for a new 16-inch telescope to DFM Engineering, Inc.

The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant to Appalachian State University to fund the replacement of a C14 telescope.

The new research-quality, computer controlled 16-inch, F/8 Ritchey-Chrétien telescope with automatic dome control, DFM Model FW-82 filter wheel, and flip mirror system for the CCD camera. The telescope will allow advanced students to train on the same type of telescope control system they will later use for research at the Dark Sky Observatory.

Currently, the Rankin Science Observatory is used to introduce students to observational techniques. The deck surrounding the dome is the area where a dozen 8-inch telescopes are used for the Introductory Astronomy course. School group observing sessions are also presented at Rankin Science Observatory.

The Rankin Science Observatory

DFM's 16" Cassegrain Telescope

The DFM web site has been updated with details about our qualified staff.

The staff at DFM Engineering, Inc. has over 200 years of combined experience in the astronomical and photonics industries. We would like to invite you to visit our updated Credentials information page, and note our extensive professional qualifications, club memberships, personal hobbies and interests.

The DFM Engineering Staff Credentials

Letter from the President

Company History

The Dexter and Southfield Schools of Brookline, MA have awarded DFM Engineering with design of The Clay Center's new Observatory and manufacture and installation of their 24" robotic telescope.

Ron Dantowitz, Observatory Project Coordinator offers a practical overview of DFM's contribution to the success of the Clay Center Observatory.

Mr. Dantowitz explains the requirements put forth by Dexter and Southfield Schools and the confidence exuded by the Headmaster and Trustees of the Schools in DFM's capabilities.

It's based on the many satisfied customers of DFM and intense planning expertise exhibited by Dr. Frank Melsheimer in the beginning stages of project development of The Clay Center Observatory

Ground was broken in November 2000 with live, up to date progress recorded online. Project details are also available.

The Clay Center Observatory


Grinnell College's 24 inch telescope at Grant Gale Observatory was serviced and received high marks from Dr. Robert Cadmus, Observatory Director.

DFM originally installed the 24 inch telescope in November of 1984 at the Grant Gale Observatory at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

On June 13, 2001, the DFM maintenance team visited Grinnell College to clean and adjust their telescope. The data collected proved the telescope still points to 14 arc seconds RMS.

Dr. Cadmus is very active in his research, demanding that the telescope perform as advertised and DFM Engineering, Inc. stands behind their telescopes and their customers.

Grinnell College service call

Middlebury College's Bicentennial Hall in Middlebury, Vermont is home to a new DFM Engineering 24-inch telescope.

The 24-inch computer controlled telescope was designed, manufactured and tested in Colorado and installed in Middlebury, Vermont.

The telescope features nearly every available option DFM Engineering, Inc. offers. The installation was carefully planned and performed in a timely manner with superb final on-site testing completed.

Middlebury College installation

The DFM Engineering team has completed upgrading the first of two 26m (85-ft.) antennas at Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) in North Carolina.

The antennas were originally used for communications with the Apollo Space capsule and later were used to track and communicate with various other artificial satellites. The Institute is converting the site to perform radio and optical astronomy.

Dr. Cline, at PARI has been instrumental in transforming the Institute that will eventually host visiting astronomers. Education will also be a major focus at PARI. About 30 undergraduate physics departments and many primary and secondary schools are within a few hours’ drive of the Institute.

The team of experts at DFM Engineering, Inc. was contracted to replace the drive system with modern AC servo motors capable of smoothly operating over a wide velocity range sufficient to allow tracking of stellar objects as well as artificial satellites.

The DFM TCS system, while tracking, consumes about 10 kilowatts allowing the cost savings in power alone to amount to tens of thousands of dollars per year per antenna.

PARI upgrade details

University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Mt. Megantic Observatory
Installation of DFM's TCS brings new life to the 1977 Perkin Elmer telescope

The University of Montreal wanted to modernize their telescope by installing a computer controlled TCS along with new secondary drives, focus motor, focus encoding, the automation of dome control and the motorization and automation of the existing manual instrument rotator.

The team of experts at DFM successfully upgraded the Perkin Elmer to allow the university to proceed with integration of the new TCS into their Observatory Control System, which will control instrumentation and have internet access.

Mt. Megantic Installation details

Mr. Ian Huss, Production Manager
Celebrating 20 Years of Service at DFM Engineering

The celebration, in honor of Mr. Ian Huss, featured an appreciation award presentation, a succulent seafood lunch, an exotic personalized cake and sparkling cider.

Mr. Ian Huss is highly trained and qualified as the Production Manager for DFM Engineering. His many years of service and expertise are greatly appreciated by DFM Staff and the DFM customers!

Celebrating Ian Huss - 20 Years

University of Oregon - Pine Mountain Observatory
Rebuilding Drives on 24" B&C Telescope

We examined, cleaned, refurbished and shipped drives back to the observatory within one week of receiving them!

Mr. Mark Dunaway, the Observatory Manager, said he was pleased he could find someone qualified to work on their telescope.

Check out our work.

Pine Mountain - 24" B&C rebuild

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center selects DFM Engineering, Inc. to build AIRBORNE LIDAR TELESCOPE

The new Ramen Airborne Spectroscopic Lidar (RASL) instrument is being designed and manufactured by DFM Engineering for NASA's Instrument Incubator Program at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

The RASL addresses high priority NASA / Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) objectives and will be capable of a multitude of atmospheric and cloud measurements.

At the heart of the RASL instrument will be a 24-inch apertureOptical Tube Assembly (OTA) now under design and construction by DFM Engineering, Inc.

NASA Goddard assignment features

DFM Engineering Inc. attends the 197th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society!!!

The 197th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society was held jointly with the American Association of Physics Teachers from January 7 - 11, 2001 at San Diego, California. DFM Engineering captured meeting attendees' interests with cutting edge demonstrations of telescope live time viewing. This was successfully accomplished with the cooperation of their highly respected industry collaborators.

Prominent display features:

AAS demonstration explanation

AAS collaborators

Display photos:

AAS booth display

Popular literature requests:

How to buy a Telescope for your Institution

Telescope Structure: Pointing

New Product Announcement!!!

DFM Engineering, Inc. is proud to announce the latest model of the

SM-125 Slide Mirror

Designed for optimal versatility and performance, DFM quality engineering and practicality is evident in the many features of the new SM-125 Slide Mirror.

SM-125 Slide Mirror Features

AAS meeting update!!!

DFM Engineering, Inc. is pleased to be one of the corporate sponsors for the 197th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The joint meeting with AAPT will be held 7-11 January 2001 in San Diego, California.

Please come visit us at Booth #734.


DFM Engineering, Inc. has completed the installation of a major upgrade of the McMath-Pierce East Auxiliary Heliostat on the solar telescope at Kitt Peak, Arizona.

The upgrade included retrofitting DFM's standard Telescope Control System (TCS), and major rework of the heliostat's polar axel, drives, drive covers, mirror mounts, and motorized motions control as well as thorough on site testing and aligning.

upgrade project details

PRESS RELEASE - "A Match For The Heavens"

DFM Engineering and Software Bisque Team Up To Provide Internet Access To DFM Telescopes.

"A Match for the Heavens"


DFM Engineering, Inc. has completed the installation of the new 1.3 meter aperture F/4 very wide field telescope at the US Naval Observatory Flagstaff Observing Station.

Dr. Frank Melsheimer presented a scientific poster paper at the SPIE Munich meeting describing the telescope including the design and manufacturing of the optics. First light images were also displayed.

scientific poster paper

first light images

additional telescope images