ELT – M2/M3 Auxiliary Equipment

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ELT design Secondary structure - Cell Shipment Container M2 crane tool
ELT design
Secondary structure - Cell Shipment Container
M2 crane tool
  • Client: ESO
  • Country: Poland
  • Start date:
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The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is a project of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to build and operate a 40-m class optical, near- and mid-infrared, ground-based telescope that will be installed on Cerro Armazones in Northern Chile. When it will enter into operation, the ELT will be the largest optical telescope ever built. It will not only offer unrivalled light collecting power, but also exceedingly sharp images, thanks to its ability to compensate for the adverse effect of atmospheric turbulence on image sharpness.

The optical design of the ELT is a folded three-mirror anastigmat, using a 39-m segmented primary mirror (M1), a 4-m convex secondary mirror (M2) and a 4-m concave tertiary mirror (M3). Folding is provided by two additional flat mirrors sending the beams to either Nasmyth foci along the elevation axis of the telescope.

The ELT M2/M3 Unit consists of the M2/M3 Mirror (the “glass”, with its interfaces), and of the M2/M3 Cell (the electromechanical subunit supporting the mirror, and interfacing with the telescope structure) which will be delivered by SENER.

To allow the assembly, integration, maintenance, storage and transport, a set of Auxiliary Equipment for each Unit will be designed by SENER. The M2/3 Auxiliary Equipment includes the hardware and software required to transport, store, maintain, clean and service the M2/3 Cell. 

  • Designed devices for M2/M3 handling:
  • M2/3 Cell Shipment Container The M2/3 Cell Shipment Container includes the hardware required to transport the M2/3 Cell from Europe to the ELT Observatory.
  • M2 Unit Crane Tool contains the holder required to integrate the M2 Unit into or extract it from the telescope, and carry it to the floor of the telescope chamber. The special challenge is to provide the ability to accurately manipulate and position M2 Units with a mass of 12t.
  • M2/M3 Unit Transport Container is used to transport Unit M2 / M3 to South America. The container must provide stable conditions inside the container and isolate the Mirror from vibrations.
  • M2/M3 Mirror Cover contains physical protection of the mirror optical surface during handling of the M2/3 Unit (extraction from and integration into the Telescope, transportation to and from the maintenance facilities, storage, if required).
  • M2 Unit Installation Guides contain structural parts to protect the M2 Unit from impacts against surrounding structures during assembly and disassembly of the M2 Unit into and from the telescope structure.
  • M2/3 Mirror Integration Tools include all the mechanisms and equipment that shall be used for the integration of the M2/3 Mirror into the M2/3 Cell. That operation shall be performed mirror in horizontal position, optical surface up.
  • M2/3 Cell Integration Tools include all mechanisms and equipment that shall be used for the integration of the M2/3 Cell in Europe or on site.


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