Press Release

Giant Magellan Telescope – Successful Final Design Review

Bremen, 28. August 2023. OHB Digital Connect, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, and Ingersoll Machine Tools reached a very important milestone in the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) project: One of the three major subsystems, the Telescope Mount, has passed its Final Design Review (FDR) successfully clearing the way to proceed with the manufacturing.  The review took place in Pasadena, California at the premises of the customer GMTO.

The Giant Magellan Telescope is an extremely large telescope in the 30-meter class. It is the largest Gregorian optical-infrared telescope in history. It will use seven of the world’s largest mirrors to see farther into deep space than ever before. Its unique design will produce the highest possible resolution of the Universe over the widest field of view. The contract for the development of the Mount was signed between GMTO and the consortium partner OHB Digital Connect (OHB DC) and Ingersoll Machine Tools (IMT) in 2019.

The review committee concluded in its report that the Mount design presented by OHB DC fulfills GMTO requirements and was impressed by the level of detail presented during the review, especially the engineering of the Earthquake Damping system, the hydraulic bearing system, and the Mirror covers.

“The GMT Mount is an incredibly large, complex, and precise machine. The successful FDR was the culmination of the effective collaboration by the talented teams at OHB DC, IMT, and GMTO. The team produced a robust Mount design that balances challenging optical performance requirements, seismic survivability, practical manufacturability, operational reliability, and personnel safety.” said GMT Telescope Structures manager Sam Park.

OHB Project manager Volker Grimm commented: “This milestone is a great success for our team, that has invested outstanding engineering work during the last years.”

At 12 stories tall and 2,100 metric tons, the Giant Magellan Telescope mount is an imposing yet agile structure. The altitude-azimuth mount provides the supporting framework for the world’s largest mirrors, adaptive optics, scientific instruments, and control systems. While massive, this precision tool is designed to glide frictionlessly in three degrees of freedom so that the 18 metric ton primary mirrors have undisturbed access to study the night sky.

“This GMT Mount represents so far the most ambitious project ever developed by the OHB Digital Connect team from Mainz. The positive feedback from the committee shows that it is a significant achievement and consolidates OHB DC position as one the key partner of the astrophysics community.” said OHB DC managing director Fabrice Scheid.

As a result of the successful FDR, Ingersoll Machine Tools, will start the production and Integration of the Mount in Rockford, Illinois. After the preassembly in the Ingersoll factory, the Mount will be shipped to Chile and mounted on Las Campanas Peak (2,514 m altitude) in the Atacama Desert.

“The completion of the GMT Mount FDR milestone that leads to the beginning of the manufacturing phases is a significant achievement in the history of this project that is recognized by our GMTO partners and the entire astronomy community.  We look forward to continuing the work with OHB Digital and IMT in the years to come which will culminate in pursuing one of the most ambitious scientific missions in the history of Humanity.“ said William Burgett, Project Manager of the GMT.


Sunlit daytime interior telescope rendering with people in the foreground. Image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation.
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