Our goal is to construct the Thirty Meter Telescope and bring it into operation in the next decade. The astronomy community, through its “decadal survey” of astronomy in 2001, called for this as the highest-priority large new project for ground-based astronomy.
By accomplishing this goal, TMT will be able to operate at the same time as the James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched later this decade. Thus, TMT would be able to work in a complementary way with the Webb telescope, just as the Keck observatory has worked with the Hubble Space Telescope, combining the different discovery and study capabilities of each system.
We are now in a design and development phase intended to bring the TMT project to readiness to start construction, depending upon the availability of construction funding from public and private sources.
Assuming that our funding is received when needed, our pace is set by technology development and design, here is the current project timeline:
Project partnership between ACURA, Caltech and UC formed
October and December 2003
Moore Foundation awards $35 million for design work in two awards to Caltech/UC
Project Office established in Pasadena
Science Requirements Document adopted by project
Telescope Reference Design established
Adaptive Optics and Instrument Reference Design established
Call for astronomy community proposals for TMT instruments
ACURA awarded $10 million Canadian for design of TMT
Instrument proposals reviewed
Conceptual Design Review passed
Cost Review passed
Construction/Preconstruction Phase Proposal Review
Site Testing Review
Preliminary Design Review
Final Design/Construction Readiness Review
TMT First Light With Full Primary Mirror