“The casting of this mirror will nearly complete a multi-decade long process at the University of Arizona Caris Mirror Lab, which is renowned for its ability to create the world’s largest optical components,” DePoy added. “The GMT is now another critical step closer to being the superb research instrument that can complement the James Webb Space Telescope and execute groundbreaking and unique science.”
The Giant Magellan Telescope will be the first extremely large telescope to complete its primary mirror array. With strong operational infrastructure completed at the telescope site in Chile, focused manufacturing is taking place on the telescope’s critical subsystem before starting on the enclosure.
“We are in an important stage of fabrication, with much of the manufacturing happening in the United States,” said Robert Shelton, president of the Giant Magellan Telescope.
The 39-meter-tall telescope structure is being manufactured with 2,100 tons of American steel at a newly-built manufacturing facility in Rockford, Illinois, and fabrication of the telescope’s first of seven adaptive secondary mirrors — a one-for-one pair with each of the seven primary mirrors — is underway.