February 27, 2018 - In calendar year 2018, almost $100M of equipment will be transported to Cerro Pachón from the U.S. and around the world for integration into the LSST summit facility building. Major items include the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA), the Coating Chamber, the Dome, the Primary/Tertiary Mirror (M1M3) and Secondary Mirror (M2), the mirror cells, and the hexapod rotator (with its twin spare). These items will be gathered from several locations, including Rochester, NY; Tucson, AZ; Denver, CO; Italy, Spain, and Germany, and shipped to the Chilean port of Coquimbo for ground transport to the summit. The designer of much of the complex, but flexible, logistics program is LSST Principal Surveyor Michael Logue.
Michael joined the project in May of 2017 with over 30 years of broad cargo and freight management experience including hands-on project cargo supervision. He is assisting the Telescope and Site team by developing a logistical plan and overseeing its execution for the timely and safe delivery of all critical components. Compared to many other projects Michael has been involved with, LSST involves “diverse logistical challenges with unique goals and, ultimately, bold positive outcomes.” The LSST summit webcam and current images in the Gallery show construction progress; currently trusses for the dome are being delivered in large shipping containers from Italy and their installation has begun.
Although shipping logistics and timetables are still being finalized, at this point we anticipate the TMA, Coating Chamber, and the Mirrors, Cells, and Surrogates will travel together on chartered specialized heavy lift cargo ships. Other components will be shipped in about 70 x 40’ shipping containers as orchestrated by the selected forwarding company Kuehne + Nagel. Our contracted shipping company, BBC Chartering, will have a cargo ship stop in Antwerp, Belgium or Hamburg, Germany for the Coating Chamber and Washing Station, then travel on to the port of Aviles in Spain to pick up the TMA, and then proceed onward to Chile. In parallel, one ship will depart Houston with components previously shipped by ground (from CO and AZ) by Precision Heavy Haul to that port. The M2 is likely to be transported to Albany, NY, for travel down the Hudson directly to Chile. The Auxiliary Telescope will be transported by container from Tucson, via Houston to Chile in early March.
After getting everything to the Chilean port of Coquimbo, it will take over 100 individual trips to the summit with truckloads full of components in conjunction with our heavy hauler, Javier Cortes. Pieces will be stored on AURA property just below the summit and then brought up in a timely sequence as integration proceeds. Once all the components are on the summit, the existing logistical situation on the top, already a shell game of relocating pieces awaiting installation to make room for others, will become even more complex exercise involving over 6000 freight tons as LSST integration continues to move forward.
This is an extremely complex period of activity for LSST, putting the pieces together to build this unique facility. Stay tuned for updates over the next year as we stay on track for full occupancy of the summit facility by year’s end.