CSO History


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s mentioned above, the plan was to construct the telescope and dome on the Caltech  campus in Pasadena in such a way that it could be easily disassembled and  transported to Mauna Kea.

Figure 10. Tom Phillips with Project Engineer Robert Hoggan.

Construction of the temporary foundation began in 1981 with Project Engineer H. Robert Hoggan. For Caltech, the construction was carefully monitored by Walt Schaal and David Vail.

Figure 11. Tom Phillips confering with Dave Vail amd Walt Schaal.

The photographs found in the PHOTO GALLERY best illustrate the process and progress of the construction. Note that in Figure 12, below, a very important first step is to lay a foundation and track that is accurately level and circular. The jig shown in the photo serves that purpose.

Figure 12. Jig for leveling track. (JCMT construction in rear).

Campus construction was completed in 1984 but without the outer skin attached. It was then dismantled and shipped by freighter to Honolulu where it was transshipped by barge to Hilo and then trucked to the summit. Assembly at the summit began with site preparation and the same leveling procedure described earlier. Working conditions at the summit of Mauna Kea were rather different from those in Pasadena, and with winter approaching and heavy snows, it became a real hardship. In addition, the contractor went bankrupt before the completion and the CSO crew had to complete the skin attachment.

Figure 13. Modular welded sections are bolted together.

At the time of the dedication, which took place on November 22, 1986, work on applying the skin was not completely finished. It was left for Allen Guyer and Jeffrey Dekok of the CSO day crew to finish the job gradually over the next couple of years.

Figure 14. CSO on the day of dedication.

Figure 15. Bob Leighton and Tom Phillips
congratulate each other.


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