LSST Site Transferred to Summit Facility Contractor

LSST Summit Facility general contractor, Besalco, has officially taken possession of the Cerro Pachon site in order to begin the construction effort. Going forward, the LSST site now is an active construction site with all of the consequent safety rules and restrictions in effect. In particular, access to the site by project person now must be pre-approved by Besalco. The official handover document was signed by AURA and Besalco representatives on January 5. Since the handover, Besalco and Rocterra staff have received orientation and accreditation, and both parties’ administrative offices have mobilized to the summit. Physical movement of earth by excavation contractor Rocterra on the telescope platform begins today, January 16.

LSST Camera Receives Funding Approval

January 9, 2015 - The LSST project has achieved another significant milestone. The baseline for fabrication of the 3,200 megapixel digital camera has received key “Critical Decision 2” approval from the DOE. The LSST team can now move forward with the development of the camera and prepare for the “Critical Decision 3” review process this summer, the last requirement before actual fabrication of the camera can begin.

Happy Holidays

December 19, 2014 - Dear Colleagues, 2014 has been an exciting year for LSST with or federal construction start underway at last. Thank you for your contributions to that success and best wishes for the New Year. Happy Holidays. (Estimados colegas, Este ha sido un año emocionante para LSST con nuestra construcción federal en marcha al fin.  Gracias por sus contribuciones para realizar este éxito y los mejores deseos para el Año Nuevo.  ¡Felices Fiestas!)

Steve Kahn, LSST Director

M1M3 Shipping Container Delivered to SOML

The LSST primary/tertiary mirror (M1M3) shipping container was successfully delivered to the University of Arizona Steward Observatory Mirror Lab (SOML) Thursday morning. Escorted by four Tucson Police Department cars and two pilot vehicles, the 30 foot by 30 foot oversized load departed CAID Industries' facility near Tucson International Airport at 4 am. Offloading at SOML was completed by 5:30 am. Once final acceptance testing of M1M3 has been completed, the mirror will be placed in the 36 ton shipping container, which was custom-built for LSST by CAID, and stored locally in Tucson. After final integrated testing, the mirror will be shipped in the container to the Cerro Pachon summit facility in Chile.

Successful DOE CD-2 Review for the LSST Camera

The LSST Camera Team has just completed a very successful Department of Energy (DOE) Critical Decision-2 (CD-2) Review, an important step in gaining approval of the performance baseline.  The three-day review was held at SLAC November 4-6, 2014 and centered on a thorough examination of the cost, schedule, performance, and scope commitment to which DOE will execute the project.   Reviewers described the team as being "superb", well prepared, and working well together.  "Scientific and technical efforts are exceptionally well balanced and integrated."  They also called out the interfaces as being well defined and stable for all physical and logical interfaces.   The project scope, requirements, and technical management processes were

Telescope & Site Welcomes Ed Stover and Jaime Seriche

The Telescope and Site subsystem added two new team members in October. Ed Stover joined the team as Senior Engineering Associate effective October 15, transferring from NSO. Jaime Seriche joined the LSST team in Chile on October 20 as the summit Inspector Tecnico de Obras (ITO), or Worksite Inpector.


LSST M2 Substrate Received by Exelis

The LSST secondary mirror (M2) substrate has been safely relocated from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA to the Exelis facility in Rochester, NY. The mirror’s trek, which involved the use of a 50-ton internal bridge crane to load the mirror transport box onto a wide-load flatbed truck and a 70-ton external crane to offload it at destination, covered 604 miles in a little over a day. The truck and pilot vehicle departed Harvard at 1 pm on October 20 and arrived in Rochester at 3 pm on October 21. Subsequently, Exelis personnel have disassembled the transport box and thoroughly inspected the substrate.

LSSTC: Preparing for Science

October 6, 2014 - The LSST Corporation (LSSTC) Board of Directors met with LSSTC Institutional Representatives in Tucson last week as the new fiscal year gets underway.   Now that LSST has its federal construction start, the LSST Project Office, an independent AURA Center, is responsible for building the facility and the LSSTC has a very separate role in optimizing science from the completed facility.  Under the leadership of Pat Eliason, the new Executive Officer of LSSTC, the Corporation will focus its efforts on Enabling Science, fundraising, and defining partnerships and plans for Operations.  The LSST Project Office will remain focused on the construction of the LSST facility as detailed in the baseline

LSST Mirror Nears Completion

September 26, 2014 - The LSST monolithic M1M3 mirror blank approaches completion at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The combined primary (M1) and tertiary (M3) surfaces are seen on the left in this image from July 2014 with the red polishing compound highlighting the active polishing zone of M3. In anticipation of completion, the vacuum lifting fixture (right, September 2014) is being assembled to supply suction to lift the mirror off the polishing cell and lower it into the mirror transport box once the polishing is complete. The fixture will then be disassembled and stored locally until it's time to reinstall the M1M3 for final optical testing in the telescope cell prior to shipment to Chile.

Andy Connolly's TED Talk

In March of 2014, UW astronomer and LSST Simulations Lead Andy Connolly was a featured speaker at the Vancouver, Canada, TED Symposium.  He describes LSST when talking about "What's the Next Window into our Universe?".  This talk is now featured online:  "Big Data is everywhere — even the skies. In an informative talk, astronomer Andrew Connolly shows how large amounts of data are being collected about our universe, recording it in its ever-changing moods. Just how do scientists capture so many images at scale? It starts with a giant telescope …"


Financial support for Rubin Observatory 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 Rubin Observatory 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 the Rubin Observatory LSST Camera (LSSTCam) is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
NSF and DOE will continue to support Rubin Observatory in its Operations phase. They will also provide support for scientific research with LSST data.   

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