Quadrupod Frames Earn Top-Supplier Recognition
The Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) wanted to study “cool dust and gas clouds” in the Milky Way and other galaxies using an array of very precise radio telescopes. Eight of these units are located near the top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, where high altitude, clear air and a location near the Equator optimize such research.
GMT was contracted to build the frames which stand in the 6-meter diameter dishes. These quadrupod structures stand 8 feet tall and hold the “focusing-mirror” sensors. That the entire group of antennae are called a “Submillimeter Array” gives a sense of the precision required for pointing and phase accuracy to “look” at phenomena which are light-years away from Earth.
The location of this mountaintop array is subject to unusual environmental and operational conditions. The antennae had to be exceptionally rigid and stable, even when buffeted by high-altitude winds, scoured by blown volcanic ash, and subjected to wide temperature fluctuations. The assemblies, complete with their steel base enclosures, had to be capable of being repositioned in an hour, moved over unpaved roads with up to 15% grade, around the mountaintop. One of these units is shown here, being transported by its truck.
The GMT carbon fiber quadrupods have performed to the highest level of science. And the SAO has recognized GMT as “The Best Outside Contractor” working on this project.
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