In 1988, Alaska Applied Sciences, Inc. (AASI) commissioned Brent Gordon, San Diego, to design a "Springfield Mount" telescope, optimized for educational-recreational astronomy in a comfortable, outdoor setting. Optician Gene Fair crafted the 16" primary and 6" secondary mirror set. Frank Zabriskie, a Penn State engineering professor, supplied the Astro Computer Control motor drive system which he designed. The Hyatt Regency Maui rebuilt their "Tour of the Stars" astronomy deck on the Lahaina Tower roof, as Brian O'Connell, their Astronomy Director, advised them, to accommodate the new 'scope, which they named "Big Blue". In 1990 the crated Big Blue was helicoptered to the roof and installed and commissioned. This is the story of the Hyatt's successful guest astronomy program with Big Blue.
We humans need to better understand who and what and where we are, so that we will be better Earth stewards. Perhaps brief astronomy experiences under relatively-dark Maui skies will help.
In 2005, the Astro Computer Control system failed, and could not be repaired. To keep the "Tour of the Stars" operating, the Hyatt quickly replaced Big Blue with a state-of-art 16" Celestron computer-guided telescope.
AASI bought Big Blue from the Hyatt, replaced the computer drive system with a state-of-art one, crated Big Blue, and shipped it to New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT), Socorro, where it remained crated, awaiting funding to build a new, wheelchair-accessible observatory building for it.
In 2018, AASI, with help from two astronomy experts, retired NMT astronomy professor Dan Klinglesmith, and John Briggs, retrieved Big Blue from NMT storage, reassembled it, and by September 2019 have nearly completed restoring and upgrading it, at The Astronomical Lyceum in Magdalena, NM. We are awaiting construction of a new, multi-telescope observatory in Magdalena, as the new home for Big Blue, returning to public service in a wheelchair-accessible venue. We hope for "first light" in 2020.