LSST Project News

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LSST received its federal construction start in August of 2014. This website supports the LSST Project Office in its construction of the facility.

Construction Progress

March 17, 2017 – On many fronts and in many places, construction on LSST is moving ahead quickly.

In Spain, the Telescope Mount Assembly construction continues with a successful trial fit of the Azimuth support on its track.  An Azimuth axial bearing was placed in its position in order to check the interface with support.  Clearances for components assembly were checked and minor adjustments will be made on some parts.  This trial fit proved very useful in preparing for on-site installation in 2018. 

The latest images from Cerro Pachón show progress on the facilities building, work being done on the 7th and 8th level of the structure, white siding on the lower enclosure, and the stairway inside the pier.

LSST: Everything has Started, Nothing is Finished!

March 10, 2017 – The annual LSST Joint Technical Meeting (JTM) took place in Glendale, CA this week, with 174 in attendance, the largest number of participants yet.  This gave the team a chance to review accomplishments and, more importantly, work face-to-face across the distributed project on current challenges.  Project Manager Victor Krabbendam reported that the DOE-funded Camera is 57% complete and the NSF-funded elements of LSST are 36% complete.  The project “earns” about $7.5 million per month of work completed, and has a current earned value of $225million.  The 13-month schedule contingency remains intact. 

Right on Schedule

March 3, 2017 - Version 1.0 of the Observatory Control System (OCS) Scheduler has been released by the LSST Telescope & Site team to the Systems Engineering Simulations team. This important milestone marks the first version of the Scheduler that has all the functionality necessary to implement the five science proposals in the current survey baseline: Wide Fast Deep, North Ecliptic Spur, South Celestial Pole, Galactic Plane, and Deep Drilling. The software will now be validated through a series of simulated surveys and analysis, while the development continues to incorporate the remaining features described in the requirements and construction plan.

Construction Progress

February 17, 2017 - New drone images from the summit of Cerro Pachón show the rapid progress of LSST construction. You can see the circular lower enclosure with the telescope pier inside, the elevator shaft, and the (long rectangular) service building. The third image shows white siding going up on the lower enclosure and progress on the foundation for the Auxiliary Telescope. Inside the facilities building windows are appearing, drywall is going up and cable trays are being installed. The summit team has one month to get ready for the start of Dome installation.

Working the Details in Venice

February 10, 2017 - Members of the Telescope & Site (T&S) group were in Italy this week, reviewing progress with EIE on the Dome. The Dome azimuth rail has already shipped from Italy and is due in Chile February 25th. The azimuth bogies and ring beam will be boxed and shipped to Chile starting in mid-February, arriving in Chile in early April.  T&S Project Manager Bill Gressler sends this report:

Calibrating Progress

February 3, 2017 – Construction is progressing quickly on Cerro Pachón, not only on the main LSST Facility Building but also on the concrete foundation for the Auxiliary Telescope.  This 1.2-meter telescope will measure atmospheric conditions at the site and provide information necessary to calibrate the LSST data throughout the survey.  [Read More …]

A Prize Winning Search for Hidden Figures in STEM

January 20, 2017 - Congratulations to Maria Patterson, a Research Scientist at the University of Washington’s Department of Astronomy working in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Data Management Science Pipelines group.  Maria is a runner-up in the “Search for Hidden Figures Contest", a contest sponsored by PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox, to find the next generation of women who will lead the way in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.   From a total of 7,000 applicants, two grand prize winners and 10 runners-up were selected.

Fiber-optic installation

January 13, 2017 – During LSST operations, data will flow from the summit of Cerro Pachón, beginning with the data acquisition interface between camera and telescope subsystems, through to the data products accessed by end users.  To facilitate the first step of this journey, installation of the dedicated fiber-optic cable from the summit to base facility is well underway.  The cable goes from Cerro Pachon to the AURA gatehouse on the telescope site, across and down highway 41 to La Serena, then in town to the LSST Base Facility on the AURA Recinto.

LSST at AAS 229

January 5, 2016 – LSST is one of about 75 exhibitors and 2500 attendees at AAS 229 in Grapevine, TX, this week.  At last night’s LSST Town Hall, Beth Willman, Pat Eliason, and Lucianne Walkowicz spoke to the crowd of ~160 about the LSST Project, Corporation, and Science Collaboration activities.  At the LSST booth, we’re promoting LSST’s construction activities and hiring campaign, as well as interacting with the crowd and providing general information about LSST.  You can follow #aas229 on twitter for a real-time window into activities, until the meeting concludes on Saturday.

Happy Holidays

Dear Colleagues, we at LSST wish you a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season.  Best wishes for the New Year!  The LSST Project Office will be closed for holidays on December 26 & 27, 2016, and January 2 & 3, 2017.  The Weekly Digest will not be distributed on December 23, 30, or January 6, picking up again Friday, January 13th, 2017, after the AAS Meeting.

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Financial support for LSST comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded LSST Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).  The DOE-funded effort to build the LSST camera is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).   

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