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Timeline

The timeline below outlines the key milestones of the project status.

This information will be updated when a forward path to construction has been defined by TMT partners, taking into account the outcome of the on-going Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics (Astro2020).

JUN
1
2003
Founding of TMT Observatory Corporation

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The nonprofit TMT Observatory Corporation was founded in June 2003 by its partners: the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), the University of California (UC), and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The TMT project was born out of the merging of three earlier large-telescope projects: CELT, the California Extremely Large Telescope, which was a partnership between Caltech and UC; VLOT, the Very Large Optical Telescope, led by ACURA; and GSMT, the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope, which was a partnership between the National Optical Astronomical Observatory (NOAO) and the Gemini Observatory. AURA participated in TMT discussions at the early phase.

APR
1
2005
Creation of the TMT Project Office

In April 2005, the TMT partners committed $17.5 million to the project office. Also that month, the TMT board appointed a project manager and began the formal design and development of the observatory, the telescope, and its instruments.

JAN
1
2008
The National Optical Astronomy Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) joins TMT

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The National Optical Astronomy Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) joins TMT as a participating institution.

MAR
1
2009
Completion of Design Development Phase (DDP)

In March 2009, TMT successfully completed its five-year Design Development Phase (DDP) with $77.1 million of funding provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy, and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. On April 1, 2009, TMT commenced its Early Construction Phase with the initial $30 million of a $200 million commitment by the Moore Foundation toward the further development and construction of the project. Matching gifts from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California bring the total to $300 million.

APR
1
2009
State of Hawaii Land Board Approves Comprehensive Management Plan for Maunakea

State of Hawaii Land Board Approves Comprehensive Management Plan for Maunakea

JUL
1
2009
TMT Board of Directors Selects Maunakea as Preferred Site

TMT Board of Directors Selects Maunakea as Preferred Site

NOV
17
2009
China and India join TMT as observers

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The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese (NOAC) Academy of Sciences and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) join TMT as observers.

MAY
1
2010
Maunakea Management Board Approves TMT Project

Maunakea Management Board Approves TMT Project -

MAY
1
2010
Completion of the Environment Impact Statement in Hawaii

TMT completes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), after 14 community meetings, and it was signed by the Governor of Hawaii.

JUN
1
2010
University of Hawaii Board of Regents Approves TMT Project

University of Hawaii Board of Regents Approves TMT Project

SEP
1
2010
Maunakea Management Board Approves Conservation District Use Permit Application

Maunakea Management Board Approves Conservation District Use Permit Application -- State of Hawaii Land Board Accepts Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) Application

FEB
1
2011
TMT granted its Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP)

APR
1
2012
State of Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources issues CDUP (4/12)

State of Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources issues CDUP (4/12)

APR
1
2013
TMT obtains building permit

The Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) granted a permit to Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project to build and operate the next-generation observatory on Maunakea.

MAY
1
2014
TMT granted sub-lease on Maunakea

The Kahu Ku Mauna Council, made up of local Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, and the University of Hawaii Board of Regents approve the University of Hawaii granting a sublease to TMT to build on Maunakea.

MAY
6
2014
Formation of TMT Internation Observatory LLC (TIO)

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On May 6, 2014, the TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO) was formed with founding Members: The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) The National Institutes of Natural Sciences (Japan) The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Science (China) The Regents of the University of California (UC) The goal of TIO is to design, develop, build and operate the Thirty Meter Telescope. Also in May 2014, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) and Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) joined as Associates and continued to be active in the TMT Project with in-kind contributions. The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) also joined as an Associate.

OCT
7
2014
Ground blessing ceremony for the TMT site

On October 7, 2014, a ground blessing ceremony for the TMT site was conducted. TMT is in the construction phase on-site in Hawaii and around the world with numerous activities ongoing with the TMT International Observatory partners.

DEC
2
2014
India formally joins TMT

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India formally joins TMT as member of the TMT International Observatory.

MAR
1
2015
The Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources issues TMT a Notice to Proceed

The Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources issues TMT a Notice to Proceed

MAY
5
2015
Temporary stand-down issued by Governor of Hawaii

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In May 2015, after imposing a temporary stand-down on TMT construction, Hawaii Governor David Ige releases a 10-point plan to help foster better stewardship of Maunakea. One part of the governor’s plan is to decommission older telescopes on the mountain to clear the way for newer telescopes like TMT.

DEC
2
2015
Hawaii Supreme Court invalidates the Conservation District Use Permit

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The Hawaii Supreme Court invalidates the Conservation District Use Permit issued by the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) to the University of Hawaii - Hilo to build TMT on Maunakea.

MAR
1
2016
Alternate site study begins

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TMT officials begin studying alternate sites for the Thirty-Meter Telescope in the event the project cannot be built in Hawaii in a timely fashion.

MAR
11
2016
La Palma selected as alternative site

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The TIO Board of Directors selected the ‘Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos’ (ORM), in La Palma, on the Canary Islands (Spain) as the alternate site for TMT.

OCT
20
2016
New contested case hearing begins in Hawaii

The Contested Case hearing began in Hilo.

DEC
15
2016
Sublease vacated by Third Circuit Court

JUL
26
2017
State Hearings Officer and former Judge Riki May Amano releases a 305-page report recommending that a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) be issued

State Hearings Officer and former Judge Riki May Amano releases a 305-page report recommending that a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) be issued to the University of Hawaii by the Board of Land and Natural Resources to allow construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea in Hawaii.

SEP
28
2017
The State Land Board announces its decision to approve the Conservation District User Permit (CDUP) for TMT to be built on Maunakea.

The State Land Board announces its decision to approve the Conservation District User Permit (CDUP) for TMT to be built on Maunakea.

JUN
21
2018
The Hawaii State Supreme court hears oral arguments related to the Conservation District Use Permit.

The Hawaii State Supreme court hears oral arguments related to the Conservation District Use Permit.

OCT
30
2018
Hawaii Supreme Court Affirms TMT Permit

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The Hawaii Supreme Court, by majority decision, today issued its opinion affirming the Board of Land and Natural Resources' decision to issue a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Maunakea.

JUN
20
2019
Notice to proceed issued by Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources

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The Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources issues a notice to proceed (NTP) to the University of Hawaii for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea. The NTP is a formal communication indicating that all pre-construction conditions and mitigation measures specifically required as a condition of the Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) have been met. With the NTP, TMT can proceed with construction.

JUL
10
2019
Gov. David Ige and the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) announce that construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will begin the week of July 15, 2019.

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Gov. David Ige and the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) announce that construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will begin the week of July 15, 2019.

JUL
15
2019
Efforts to restart construction stall

DEC
19
2019
Gov. David Ige announces that the state will reduce its law enforcement personnel on Maunakea

FEB
1
2020
TMT and US-ELTP partners present their program to the Astro2020 panel

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TMT, along with its partners in the US-Extremely Large Telescope Program, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) and the National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) present their science and technical readiness to the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey (Astro2020) panel.

JUN
15
2021
Project Manager Fengchuan Liu relocates to Hilo, Hawaii

Project Manager Fengchuan Liu relocates to Hilo, Hawaii.