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Thirty Meter Telescope

The Project Manager's Corner: A Whole Lot of Things Going On
Gary Sanders, TMT Project Manager

January/February 2008

There are a whole lot of things going on. Every day the pace is picking up as TMT enters the final design phase and as we begin to plan the initiation of construction. The number of vendor meetings, bidding meetings, design review meetings and meetings with hosts of potential sites has reached a cadence where almost every day something significant is happening.

The past week is a good example. We finished placing four industry design contracts for our secondary and tertiary mirror systems, we held a pre bid vendor meeting with potential suppliers of the specialized computing for our adaptive optics system, and we became a legal entity in Chile by the Chilean President's decree! That is not a bad week. This is especially so as I write this as I fly back across the Pacific from, among other things, a meeting with a potential supplier of another major TMT subsystem. This is the way a big project should be.

As readers of our web site home page can see, if you look carefully, there is a link for Doing Business with TMT. On that page we post offers to industry. If you go to that page now (perhaps not in the future), you will see seven links from September 2007 through November 2007. These links offer industry the opportunity to propose initial design studies of our secondary and tertiary mirror subsystems. TMT has carried out designs in house for these subsystems and these designs are summarized in the Foundation Documents also accessible through the menu on our home page. But we will not build these in house, industry will do that. So it is time to involve industry in revised studies to guide us in future to final design studies and to fabrication contracts. An offering was made on the web, interested vendors attended meetings with us for open clarification, proposals were received and evaluated and contracts have now been awarded.

The initial design studies for the secondary mirror subsystem will be carried out in parallel by SAGEM of Paris, France and by Quartus Engineering Inc. of San Diego, CA. Our tertiary mirror system will be studied in parallel by General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies, Inc.  of Richardson, TX and IMTEC Corporation of Los Alamos, NM. We are pleased to be working with such talented firms in this early exploration of these challenging systems.

As the contracts reached definitive form and work has begun, the same web page shows an announcement of the TMT Adaptive Optics System Real Time Controller (RTC). This is a very challenging specialized computer system that has an important job. It receives information from wave front sensors in our adaptive optics system that describe the instantaneous twinkling of reference stars (wave front distortions) and does a quick set of calculations that command two deformable mirrors that correct the distorted wave fronts ("untwinkling" the reference stars). This computer does this 800 times each second and produces commands for about 7000 actuators that yield the correction. Twenty one interested parties signed up for this meeting and it succeeded in conveying a lot of information and clarifying our requirements.

Amidst the signing of contracts and the solicitation of new proposals, we were pleased to learn that we were now recognized legally in Chile. We filed documents some months ago with the Foreign Ministry of Chile requesting that the TMT Observatory Corporation be recognized in Chile as a legal entity with the same rights, immunities and responsibilities as other international observatories, under Chilean Public Law 15.172. The review process concluded with a positive decision and a published decree by the President of the Republic. The decree is reproduced below. This is a very important step in considering our Chilean test sites, together with those in Hawaii and Mexico, as the future home for TMT. We very much appreciate this positive development. It paves the way for us to establish business processes in Chile, to sign agreements that are binding in that country and to submit formal documents such as those related to environmental impacts. All of this mirrors the steps we are taking and planning in our other potential locations.

A good brisk week and a sign of the building cadence in the project.

DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA REPUBLICA DE CHILE
Jueves 24 de Enero de 2008

CONCEDE PRERROGATIVAS Y FACILIDADES A
TMT OBSERVATORY CORPORATION
Núm. 196.- Santiago, 13 de noviembre de 2007.- Vistos:
Los artículos 24 y 32 Nº 6 de la Constitución Política de la
República, el artículo único de la ley Nº 15.172, cuyo texto
vigente se encuentra fijado por el artículo 48 de la ley
Nº 17.378; el decreto con fuerza de ley Nº 161, del año 1978,
del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, y
Considerando:
Que la TMT Observatory Corporation, Corporación Científica
Privada, con residencia en Pasadena, California, Estados
Unidos de América, con fecha 14 de junio de 2007, celebró con
la Universidad de Chile un Convenio de Cooperación Científica
en Investigaciones Astronómicas destinado a construir,
instalar y operar en Chile el Proyecto denominado "Thirty
Meter Telescope".

Que la TMT Observatory Corporation en virtud de dicho
Convenio ha solicitado acogerse a los beneficios establecidos
en la ley Nº 15.172.

Decreto:
Artículo único.- La TMT Observatory Corporation, persona jurídica extranjera, con domicilio en Pasadena, California, Estados Unidos de América, y los científicos, astrónomos, profesores, ingenieros, técnicos y empleados de la misma que ingresen al país en funciones relacionadas con la construcción, instalación, operación y mantenimiento en Chile del Proyecto denominado "Thirty Meter Telescope", según el Convenio de Cooperación Científica en Investigaciones Astronómicas suscrito con fecha 14 de junio de 2007, entre la Universidad de Chile y la TMT Observatory Corporation, estarán sujetos al mismo régimen y gozarán de iguales prerrogativas y facilidades que las establecidas en el Convenio vigente de fecha 6 de noviembre de 1963, celebrado entre el Gobierno de Chile y la Organización Europea para la Investigación Astronómica del Hemisferio Austral (ESO).

Anótese, tómese razón y publíquese.- MICHELLE BACHELET JERIA, Presidenta de la República de Chile.- Alejandro Foxley Rioseco, Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores. Lo que transcribo a US. para su conocimiento.- Pablo Piñera Echenique, Director General Administrativo.

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