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The Project Manager's Corner: The Moore Foundation Moves TMT Towards Completing Our Design Development Phase
Gary Sanders, TMT Project Manager

September 2007

Our goal is to be ready to construct TMT in 2009. A generous gift of an additional $15 million by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, to TMT partners Caltech and University of California (UC), has just been announced (Caltech, UC, Moore Foundation). This makes it possible for TMT to complete the construction-ready design and to initiate industrialization of the production of several key components of TMT. The TMT team is most grateful for this recognition of the progress made in developing the TMT plan. Beyond grateful, our team is energized and is implementing the new activities made possible by this support.

TMT is a partnership of Caltech and UC, with support from the Moore Foundation, and ACURA, with support from several public Canadian agencies. We also receive support from the National Science Foundation through AURA. To date, and prior to this new award, the Design Development Phase of the TMT project has functioned with a budget of $65 million from these sources. Last April, in this column I described our status and a planned summer external review of our design and plans for implementing TMT. That review has taken place and its successful outcome has positioned the project and its sponsors to engage in the final two years of TMT development. The addition by the Moore Foundation of support for this development endgame is very timely.

We are refining the summit and support facility building designs, initiating detailed design of the enclosure and telescope structure, purchasing test mirror glass, engaging large optics firms in early polishing of primary mirror segments, meeting with industry about our secondary and tertiary mirrors, designing a first article tip-tilt stage for our adaptive optics deformable mirrors, enlarging our effort in observatory and controls software, and initiating design and testbeds for the telescope optics controls systems. The science instrument community is being engaged about the next stage of instrument design. The final round of studies and discussions with officials are taking place regarding the selection of our site in mid-2008. An already very phrenetic project is picking up its pace even more. A glimpse of the building excitement in our astronomy community is provided in this Newscast by Betsy Barton who chronicles a June "Science in the Era of TMT" workshop.

As a final note in this short piece, I offer a much longer document. Our design and plans for implementing TMT are described in a TMT Construction Proposal that is now publicly available on our website. This document is quite complete and lacks only trade sensitive and commercially sensitive cost data.

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The TMT project is a collaboration of Caltech, University of California (UC) and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA). © Thirty Meter Telescope


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