Department of Physics & Astronomy

Travis Prochaska


Travis  Prochaska


Travis Prochaska is the Senior Mechanical Engineer Specialist in the Astronomy Instrumentation Lab at Texas A&M University. Since the beginning of 2010 he has worked on the vast majority of the mechanical and opto-mechanical needs of the lab. This includes designing, building and verifying systems for telescopes, spectrographs and calibration systems for the HET Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX), Dark Energy Camera (DECAM), Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) projects along with various smaller projects. His work on the HETDEX project included optimizing, in collaboration with the University of Texas, the design of the VIRUS spectrographs and overseeing fabrication & assembly of the 160 spectrograph collimator systems. He also heavily contributed to the design of the 2 VIRUS enclosures/cooling systems as well as oversaw their fabrication, assembly and commissioning. Travis worked on the original GMACS spectrograph conceptual design proposed for GMT in 2011, where he modeled concepts for optical housing modules and mechanical transport systems, in collaboration with engineers at Johns Hopkins University. He currently works on the new GMACS conceptual design, where he oversees the design of the structure, mechanisms and optics housings. Travis also manages several students each semester, who assist him many assembly, fabrication and design tasks.