SENER Aeroespacial signs a contract with the European Southern Observatory for the M5 mechanism of the Extremely Large Telescope

02/12/2019 (Germany)
SENER Aeroespacial signs a contract with the European Southern Observatory for the M5 mechanism of the Extremely Large Telescope
  • This is the second project contribution of SENER Aeroespacial in the critical mechanisms for ESO’s ELT (Extremely Large Telescope).

SENER Aeroespacial has signed a contract with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) for the design and production of the cell for the fifth mirror (M5) of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), which will be the largest optical/infrared telescope ever built.

The ELT will have a primary mirror of 39 metres diameter and will use a complex optical system of five mirrors with the most sophisticated technology, a cutting-edge development in the field of astronomy in which SENER Aeroespacial will be participating for the next 5 years.

By virtue of this contract, SENER Aeroespacial will carry out the design, construction and verification of the cell for the M5 mirror as well as their control system and auxiliary equipment. The cell includes a fast tip-tilt system for image stabilization compensating perturbations caused by the telescope mechanisms and wind vibrations, with an accuracy of few micro-radians and 10 Hz bandwidth and alignment system in three degrees of freedom (Z, Rx, Ry) for the fifth mirror positioning. The complex mechanism has critical performances in terms of stiffness, Eigen frequencies and small envelope to drive a large flat elliptical mirror of 2.7 m x 2.2 m and 430 kg mass.

The signing of this contract took place at the headquarters of the ESO in Garching, Germany, by the Director General of ESO, Prof. Xavier Barcons, and the General Director of SENER Aeroespacial, José Julián Echevarría. It was also attended by representatives from the CDTI (Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology), from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and from the Consulate of Spain in Munich, as well as by members of the ESO and of SENER Aeroespacial.

SENER Aeroespacial has been present in the field of ground astronomy and large scientific infrastructures since the year 2,000 and it has an extensive portfolio of projects that bear witness to the quality of its solutions, for clients such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO). SENER Aeroespacial’s work in Astronomy encompasses optical systems, electromechanical components and systems, instrumentation systems and large mirror drive systems for both ground and on-board satellite telescopes. The list of customised precision mechanisms delivered so far by SENER Aeroespacial includes the positioning systems for M2 mirrors for the GTC, VISTA and IRAIT telescopes, the actuator system for the JPCam panoramic camera, the robotic calibration arm for ALMA, the rotator for the VLT, the prime-focus translation and corrector systems for the WHT as well as the ELT M2 and M3 Cells.

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