March 26, 2019 - UPDATE: The M1M3 has arrived in Houston and is now waiting for the ship that will take it to Chile. The trip from Tucson to Houston was uneventful for the mirror, but sparked a lot of curiosity from motorists who had to make way for this very oversized load! More photos, provided by transport company Precision Heavy Haul, Inc., are available in the LSST Gallery.
March 15, 2019 - LSST’s biggest mirror, the 8.4-meter Primary/Tertiary Mirror (M1M3), is officially on its way to Chile! Before dawn this morning, the vehicle carrying the mirror in its storage and transport container departed from the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab in Tucson, AZ. On Tuesday the mirror was loaded into the container using a custom lifting fixture, and on Thursday the container was loaded and secured onto a 108-foot Precision Heavy Haul, Inc. vehicle outside the Mirror Lab in preparation for this morning’s departure. Now, the mirror is on its way to the Port of Houston in Texas, where it will be loaded onto an assigned ship for its five-week ocean voyage to Chile.
The transport vehicle, with its wide and fragile load, will travel slowly on a route designed to minimize traffic disruption. While on a typical road trip it might take two days (driving about eight hours per day) to make the trip from Tucson to Houston, we anticipate that this leg of the journey will take the vehicle carrying the M1M3 approximately 10 days.
Tucker Booth, LSST Telescope and Site Mechanical Engineer, supervised the departure of the M1M3 this morning. As the truck was pulling away from the Mirror Lab, Booth remarked, “A lot of people worked very hard to get to this moment. It’s exciting to have the work in Tucson finished, and to move on to the next phase.”
Read the AURA Press Release here.
Photos of the M1M3 being loaded are available in the LSST Gallery.
Financial support for LSST comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded LSST Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). The DOE-funded effort to build the LSST camera is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
NSF and DOE will continue to support LSST in its Operations phase. They will also provide support for scientific research with LSST data.
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