This 12-inch telescope is one of four full-scale engineering models or prototypes for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Project Celescope. Celescope was a project in the 1960s to survey the ultraviolet sky at wavelengths invisible from the ground. Each of Celescope's reflecting telescopes was equipped with a special Uvicon television tube sensitive to ultraviolet light, set behind different filters. The signal from each telescope was telemetered back to a ground station where it was used to construct a photometric map of ultraviolet sources in the sky. The telescope system was flown on December 7, 1968 as part of Orbiting Astronomical Satellite. The data from Celescope resulted in a catalog of over 5,000 ultraviolet colors for stars.
The telescope was transferred to NASM as part of a suite from SAO in 1973 .
Transfer from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory