October 2019 CTA Project Update
By: Wolfgang Wild, CTAO Project Manager
We continue to build up the Project Office, filling essential positions over the past few months and the next few months. This includes the CTA Project Scientist (Roberta Zanin started 1 June), the CTA-South Site Manager (Volker Heinz started 1 July), Documentation Specialist (Ulrike Hautmann, started 1 October), and Senior Data Management Specialist (Nektarios Benekos, starts 15 October).
We are still in need of staff, including in the areas of quality assurance, configuration management, computing and infrastructure work, for the Science Data Management Centre and coordinators for telescopes and array common elements so keep an eye out for those positions and more on our website. We expect to advertise further positions after the budget approval by the CTA Observatory (CTAO) Council in November.
Recognizing the current CTA construction cost estimate, as laid down in the updated Cost Book, and the most likely funding reality, the CTAO Project Office has initiated an evaluation of CTA configurations which seems affordable during Phase 1 of the CTA construction project (Phase 2 is foreseen to complete CTA construction while operating the Phase 1 configuration). This evaluation has been and is being done in close cooperation between the CTA Project Scientist and the CTA Consortium and will be discussed at the upcoming CTA Consortium Meeting in Bologna in October. The goal is to start constructing a scientifically convincing instrument as soon as possible, keeping the likely cost and funding in mind. Possible Phase 1 array configurations have also been discussed within Council at its extraordinary meeting on 11 September, where the Council reaffirmed the consensus on the threshold array scenario to begin CTA construction.
On 16 and 17 July, the CTAO Project Office held the first CTAO-internal “CTA-North Operations Workshop” to collect information and begin discussing the CTA-North operations concept, focusing on the broad outlines of processes, functions, interactions, strategies and models related to operations on the North site. This meeting resulted in a collection of topics and issues, including decisions to be made, and will be followed by more in-depth meetings defining the CTA-North operations concept.
CTA-North Site Update
The CTA-North Site Manager, Paolo Calisse, has been busy with setting up the CTAO office in La Palma. The office space has been rented and the refurbishment is being finalized with a local technical architect with the goal to realize a cost-effective solution. Moreover, preparations for the first stage of infrastructure design and construction of the CTA-North site are well under way (see separate article). An agreement between the Large-Sized Telescope (LST) team and the CTAO has been created to provide the framework for CTAO staff to support the LST-1 commissioning and to get better acquainted with the telescope. Paolo attended his first commissioning shift in August.
CTA-South Site Update
On 1 July 2019, the CTA-South Site Manager Volker Heinz started his activities, while still transitioning from his previous assignment with ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). The first step to prepare the site is to develop the overall layout of the site’s supporting facilities (buildings, power substation, warehouse, etc.) and the required infrastructure, as well as to conduct an analysis of the current telescope positions by marking them in the field and re-evaluating their construction feasibility. The first preparatory procurements (vehicle, generator set, refurbishment of office containers) have been performed or are in preparation. In addition, the power connection to the public electricity grid is being investigated to find the correct strategy and technical solution. It is CTAO’s intention to begin building the CTA-South access road, data and power connections to the array as soon as the funding becomes available.
In the next few months and until the end of 2019, the following project reviews will be held:
- Large-Sized Telescope Critical Design Review: 15-17 October, Munich
- Medium-Sized Telescope Structure Critical Design Review: 10-12 December, Zeuthen
- CTA-North Definition Review: 17-19 December, Bologna
These reviews are organized by the Project Office Systems Engineering Group in collaboration with the relevant teams.
SST Harmonization Update
The Small-Sized Telescope (SST) harmonization process is still underway. Read my separate article on this topic.