How do you unpack and move a 15 ton telescope? Very carefully!
February 21 was not only a cold and snowy Tuesday, but it was an exciting Tuesday for the staff of the MRO Interferometer. The second Unit Telescope which had arrived in January was going to be unpacked and installed in its temporary home in the Maintenance Facility at the Observatory.
The 1.4 meter telescope, which was designed and built by AMOS, is the second of the eventual ten optical telescopes that will make up the MRO Optical Interferometer.
After many hours of unpacking and moving, the telescope was lowered into position on the special pad where it could be hooked up to electricity and other subsystems to be ready for assembly and then finally its site acceptance tests, which will happen sometime next month.
The second Unit Telescope (UT) of the MRO Interferometer, which was designed and built by AMOS, is currently undergoing its site acceptance testing in our maintenance facility. Below are two short time lapse videos of part of the process of testing the pointing accuracy.
The second Unit Telescope (UT) of the MRO Interferometer was delivered to the Observatory on January 13, 2023. Transporting such a large package up the narrow dirt road was no small feat!
Most of the twists and turns in the road are so tight that the large truck carrying our second telescope could barely make the turns.
This made the trip up to the Observatory a long a laborious process.
We started up the mountain around 9 AM with the expectation that it would take two or three hours to complete the trip. That turned out to be a vast underestimate.
It was nearly 7 PM when the telescope finally reached the Observatory. But the job wasn’t over yet. The telescope needed to be unloaded from the truck and placed in our maintenance facility.
By 8 PM the telescope was safely stored in our maintenance facility. The unpacking of the telescope would not occur for another month.
While it ended up being a much longer day than anyone anticipated, we were treated to a beautiful sunset overlooking the array.
On Monday February 4, MRO staff traveled to our state’s capital to take part in NMT/Earth Sciences Day at the Roundhouse. As the legislative session was being held, tables representing different departments and research branches of tech sprang up in the halls around the rotunda. Colleen Gino and Shelbi Etscorn with the help of Ifan Payne manned the MRO’s booth and spoke with politicians, New Mexico Tech staff and students, Santa Fe school children, and members of the public who stopped by our vibrant display.