news AMOS Contracted by TMT International Observatory to Design and Build Secondary Mirror Support System and Positioner

The TMT International Observatory (TIO) contracted AMOS to design and manufacture the secondary mirror support system and positioner (M2SSP) of the future extremely large Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). Once constructed, the TMT telescope will have a 30-meter primary mirror and be the largest ground-based, optical telescope in the northern hemisphere.

Artistic rendering of TMT at sunset (Credit: TIO)

With its preferred site on Maunakea in Hawaii, TMT is one of three extremely large telescopes under construction in the world. Building such a telescope is a major challenge. Engineers must design and build large moving structures capable of holding the telescope’s various mirrors in place with nanometric precision.

Artistic rendering of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (Credit: TIO)

AMOS is contracted for a critical piece of the telescope: the M2SSP system. The M2SSP will carry and adjust the position of the telescope’s secondary mirror. Located at the top of the telescope, the secondary mirror receives the light collected by the primary mirror, sends it towards the tertiary mirror, and then to the telescope’s various instruments. The M2SSP system is composed of two elements:

  • A system to support the secondary mirror (with a 3.2-meter diameter) facing downward, in the direction of the tertiary mirror of the telescope. This system maintains the 2-ton mirror in such a way that its surface keeps its optimal shape with a precision in the order of a fraction of a micrometer.
  • A positioning mechanism that allows the mirror to move with 6 degrees of freedom within micrometric accuracy to compensate the deformation of the structures, the effect of gravity, some thermal effects on the telescope’s structure, etc.

TMT Bird’s-eye view with the M2 system on the top of the structure (Credit: TIO)

M2 Support System and Positioner (M2SSP)

AMOS put a lot of effort into building an innovative and convincing offer in response to the international call for tenders launched by TIO. AMOS is proud that Belgian technology was selected for this important part of the TMT telescope. AMOS has been involved with TMT for over 10 years. Starting with preliminary studies of various TMT subsystems, this contract is the next step in a very long relationship with TIO.

“For AMOS collaborators, it is extremely valuable and motivating to be part of this ambitious TMT project,” said Xavier Verians, AMOS’ Business Development Director. “Their work will continue to push back the limits of knowledge of the universe and matter. They are proud of the recognition of their expertise and trust placed in them by the major scientific institutions and astronomers leading them.”

“We are pleased to partner with AMOS on the design and development of TMT’s secondary mirror support system and positioner, which is a key component of our telescope,” said TIO Lead Contracts Specialist Pratheep Eamranond. “Their experience in designing and constructing high-accuracy systems for ground-based telescopes will serve the project well.”

“All our collaborators are excited about the idea of actually working for the Thirty Meter Telescope,” continued Xavier Verians. “This success is only possible thanks to the hard work of people that build our expertise, deliver quality telescope hardware and prove to astronomers and observatories that AMOS is a partner you can count on for the long term.”

With members from the US, Canada, India and Japan, TIO is a non-profit organization established to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. More information on TMT:

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement No. 2331108. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Press Release – FR
Published on 15.11.2023
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