search this site
HomeProject Manager's Corner

Thirty Meter Telescope

TMT Timeline

Our goal is to construct the Thirty Meter Telescope and bring it into operation in the next decade. The astronomy community, through its "decadal survey" of astronomy in 2001, called for this as the highest-priority large new project for ground-based astronomy.

By accomplishing this goal, TMT will be able to operate at the same time as the James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched about 2013. Thus, TMT would be able to work in a complementary way with the Webb telescope, just as the Keck observatory has worked with the Hubble Space Telescope, combining the different discovery and study capabilities of each system.

We are now in a design and development phase intended to bring the TMT project to readiness to start construction as early as 2009, depending upon the availability of construction funding from public and private sources.

Assuming that our funding is received when needed, our pace is set by technology development and design, here is the current project timeline:

Recent Past
Project partnership between ACURA, Caltech and UC formed June 2003
Moore Foundation awards $35 million for design work in two awards to Caltech/UC October and December 2003
Project Office established in Pasadena April 2004
Science Requirements Document adopted by project June 2004
Telescope Reference Design established October 2004
Adaptive Optics and Instrument Reference Design established November 2004
Call for astronomy community proposals for TMT instruments February 2005
ACURA awarded $10 million Canadian for design of TMT February 2005
Instrument proposals reviewed March 2006
Conceptual Design Review passed May 2006
Cost Review passed September 2006
Construction/Preconstruction Phase Proposal Review June 2007
Site Testing Review July 2007

Preliminary Design Review June 2009
Final Design/Construction Readiness Review June 2010
TMT First Light With Full Primary Mirror October 2017
First science June 2018


email webmaster local users

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


Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy