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General Dynamics Delivers 25th and Final ALMA Array Antenna to Observatory High in Chilean Andes



  General Dynamics Delivers 25th and Final ALMA Array Antenna to Observatory
                            High in Chilean Andes

Using the ALMA array scientists recently observed sugar molecules, a key
building block of life, some 400 light years away.

PR Newswire

NEWTON, N.C., Dec. 6, 2012

NEWTON, N.C., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The 25^th and final 12-meter
(40-foot) antenna manufactured by General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies has
been formally accepted by the Joint Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter
Array (ALMA) Observatory. Delivered to the Operations Support Facility in the
Chilean Andes, the 115-ton, highly specialized radio-telescope antenna is
completing final integration and testing before being moved up to the Array
Operations Site which is 16,400 feet above sea level.

"The delivery of this antenna concludes a remarkable journey for the General
Dynamics SATCOM Technology employees who hand-built each of the preceding 24
antennas," said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems. "It
is gratifying to know that information gathered by our antennas, as part of
the ALMA Observatory, is already changing the way scientists understand the
universe."

General Dynamics delivered the first antenna to the ALMA site in Chile in
2007. The extremely dry conditions, where the air is too thin for humans to
work without oxygen, is the ideal location for the array because it limits
environmental and other factors that would interfere with the antenna's
operation if it were closer to sea level. The antennas act as one massive
radio telescope that bends, swivels and points in unison, toward distant
corners of the universe.

The company is also supplying 64 specially designed antennas for a new
radio-telescope array that is currently under construction in South Africa.

The radio telescope captures faint radio signals emitted from dust and gas
that have traveled over hundreds of light years – one light year equals 5.86
trillion miles – to the antenna array.  When radio signals reach the ALMA
Observatory, the data is processed by an onsite super-computer, enabling
scientists to see never-before seen images of the universe in three
dimensions.

Scientists at the ALMA observatory recently identified sugar molecules inside
a gas cloud surrounding a young star that is about the size of the Earth's
sun. The discovery represents the first time that sugar has been found in the
space around that size star, just 400 light years away. Sugar is a critical
building block of life and the discovery reveals it is perfectly aligned to
become part of new planets that are forming around the star.

Antennas from General Dynamics comprise the North American portion of the ALMA
project. North American efforts are led by the National Radio Astronomy
Observatory, operated by Associated Universities, Inc. and supported by the
U.S. National Science Foundation, National Research Council of Canada and
National Science Council of Taiwan. ALMA partners located in Europe and Japan
are providing the remaining antennas.  

General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies, part of General Dynamics C4 Systems, is
a leading supplier of next-generation base station and earth station
communications products and services, satellite antennas and antenna systems
and wireless products. More information is available at www.gdsatcom.com.

For more information about General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit of
General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), please visit www.gdc4s.com. 

More information about General Dynamics is available at
www.generaldynamics.com.

SOURCE General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies

Website: http://www.gdsatcom.com
Contact: Media: Fran Jacques, General Dynamics C4 Systems, +1-480-441-2885, or
Investors: Amy Gilliland, General Dynamics, +1-703-876-3748
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