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February 5, 2023

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Assembly of the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) structure begins

04/02/2003

A new step. A new challenge that will take a lot of time and effort. The first pieces of the telescope structure are arriving at the Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos, on the island of La Palma, from the construction firm's factory in Tarragona.

We can already see the huge crane going up - it will be used to life the heavy supports and sheets of carbon steel through the 13 metre wide gaps of the dome observation windows so that the interior assembly can begin.

Approximately 27 meters tall and 28.8 metres wide, the telescope’s mechanical structure is made up of the tube, the mount and the azimuth ring. It will bear the weight of the mirrors (with their supports), the instruments, the motors…in fact this 350 tonne giant will carry the weight of everything else on its back.

The structure and the motion mechanisms for the GTC have been manufactured by the Unión Temporal de Empresas (UTE) “SG,” which was formed by “GHESA”, an engineering company based in Madrid, and “Schwartz Hautmont”, the Tarragona-based metal structure manufacturer that built the mechanical structure for the Keck 1 telescope in Hawaii.

Natalia R. Zelman

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