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Proceedings Paper

Engineering within the assembly, verification, and integration (AIV) process in ALMA
Author(s): Bernhard Lopez; Joseph P. McMullin; Nicholas D. Whyborn; Eugene Duvall
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Paper Abstract

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a joint project between astronomical organizations in Europe, North America, and East Asia, in collaboration with the Republic of Chile. ALMA will consist of at least 54 twelve-meter antennas and 12 seven-meter antennas operating as an interferometer in the millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelength range. It will be located at an altitude above 5000m in the Chilean Atacama desert. As part of the ALMA construction phase the Assembly, Verification and Integration (AIV) team receives antennas and instrumentation from Integrated Product Teams (IPTs), verifies that the sub-systems perform as expected, performs the assembly and integration of the scientific instrumentation and verifies that functional and performance requirements are met. This paper aims to describe those aspects related to the AIV Engineering team, its role within the 4-station AIV process, the different phases the group underwent, lessons learned and potential space for improvement. AIV Engineering initially focused on the preparation of the necessary site infrastructure for AIV activities, on the purchase of tools and equipment and on the first ALMA system installations. With the first antennas arriving on site the team started to gather experience with AIV Station 1 beacon holography measurements for the assessment of the overall antenna surface quality, and with optical pointing to confirm the antenna pointing and tracking capabilities. With the arrival of the first receiver AIV Station 2 was developed which focuses on the installation of electrical and cryogenic systems and incrementally establishes the full connectivity of the antenna as an observing platform. Further antenna deliveries then allowed to refine the related procedures, develop staff expertise and to transition towards a more routine production process. Stations 3 and 4 deal with verification of the antenna with integrated electronics by the AIV Science Team and is not covered directly in this paper. It is believed that both continuous improvement and the clear definition of the AIV 4-station model were key factors in achieving the goal of bringing the antennas into a state that is well enough characterized in order to smoothly start commissioning activities.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 August 2010
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7733, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes III, 77335B (6 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858110
Show Author Affiliations
Bernhard Lopez, Atacama Large Millimeter Array (Chile)
Joseph P. McMullin, Atacama Large Millimeter Array (Chile)
Nicholas D. Whyborn, Atacama Large Millimeter Array (Chile)
Eugene Duvall, Atacama Large Millimeter Array (Chile)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7733:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes III
Larry M. Stepp; Roberto Gilmozzi; Helen J. Hall, Editor(s)

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