SENER Aeroespacial has signed a contract with the consortium of the European Solar Telescope (EST) project, coordinated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), for the preliminary design of the M1 primary mirror.
The EST will be the largest European ground-based research infrastructure project in the field of solar physics. More than 30 institutions from 18 European countries are involved in this telescope, coordinated by the IAC. The project is in the preliminary design phase and its location has been unanimously determined to be at one of the observatories on the Canary Islands.
SENER Aeroespacial, in partnership with several specialized subcontractors, is going to make the M1 primary mirror assembly for the IAC. This assembly consists of a 4.2-m diameter monolithic mirror and cell, which have critical requirements for positioning and cooling the mirror. The M1 assembly is one of the main subsystems of the EST telescope, together with the secondary mirror and the structure.
Specifically, the main tasks that SENER Aeroespacial will carry out during the contract are: the design of the M1 assembly and the auxiliary equipment necessary for its handling, maintenance and operation; design validation through modeling and analysis; verification of key components of the M1 assembly using prototypes; definition of a production plan and timeline for the M1 assembly, including the detailed design of the system and its assembly, integration and verification (AIV); and the definition of an estimate of the M1 assembly’s production costs, including the detailed design, manufacturing and AIV, so that the detailed design and construction of this subsystem can begin. SENER Aeroespacial's design of the M1 will be the cornerstone for the subsequent detailed design and construction of this subsystem.
SENER Aeroespacial has been present in the field of ground-based astronomy and large scientific facilities since 2000 and has an extensive project portfolio that attest to the quality of its solutions for clients such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO). SENER Aeroespacial's work in astronomy includes optical systems, electromechanical components and systems, instrumentation systems and large mirror drive systems for both ground-based telescopes and space systems. The list of customized precision mechanisms delivered so far by SENER Aeroespacial includes the positioning systems for the M2 mirrors of the GTC, VISTA and IRAIT telescopes, the drive system for the JPCam panoramic camera, the robotic calibration arm for ALMA, a rotator for the VLT, the drive and primary focus corrector (PFC) systems for the William Herschel Telescope, as well as the cells of the M2-M3 and M5 mirrors, together with the M1 segment manipulator, for the ELT telescope.