LSST Project News


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

Supporting Progress

April 21, 2017 –  Fabrication of the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA) continues in Spain.   The large steel structural components that make up the azimuth assembly are painted and undergoing installation on the Spanish pier.  A previous post explained the duplicate Spanish pier will be used to support the trial assembly and testing of the TMA prior to its demolition and subsequent reinstallation of the TMA on site in Chile. 

Cerro Pachón Goes Hollywood

April 7, 2017 - Last week was an “other duties as necessary” kind of work week for LSST Graphic Designer Emily Acosta and Telescope Site Manager Eduardo Serrano. Emily traveled from Tucson to Cerro Pachón to meet a nine-member multimedia team directed by Alison Rose of Inigo Films and to coordinate with Eduardo so the media team’s work didn’t interfere with ongoing construction activities. Inigo Films was contracted to document the current state of construction via drone film footage, time-lapse sequences, panorama images, and full dome clips. The assets will be archived in LSST’s upcoming digital asset management system for project viewing and later use in Education and Public Outreach (EPO) programs.

Coating Chamber Final Design Review

March 31, 2017 - The Final Design Review for the LSST Coating Plant took place last week in Germany.  Four members of the Telescope & Site team (Tomislav Vucina, Doug Neil, Constanza Araujo, and John Andrew) traveled with Systems Engineer Brian Selvy to the  Von Ardenne GmbH facility in Dresden.

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.


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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