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Proceedings Paper

CARMENES: management of a schedule-driven project
Author(s): M. L. García-Vargas; J. Caballero; A. Pérez-Calpena; Pedro Amado; Walter Seifert; Marco Azzaro; Holger Mandel; Andreas Quirrenbach; Ignasi Ribas; Ansgar Reiners; Eike Guenther; Lluís Gesa; David Galadí; Jesús Aceituno
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Paper Abstract

CARMENES (Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with Near-infrared and optical Échelle Spectrographs) is an instrument consistent in two ultra-stable high resolution (R~82,000) spectrographs covering simultaneously the visible (0.5 – 1.0μm) and near-IR (1.0 - 1.7μm) ranges to provide high-accuracy radial-velocity measurements (∼1 m/s) thanks to the long-term stability. CARMENES was the initiative of a consortium of eleven German and Spanish institutions. CARMENES has been built for the 3.5m telescope at the Centro Astronómico Hipano- Alemán (CAHA), Calar Alto Observatory (Almería, Spain) and is currently in operation. CAHA is jointly operated by the Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

The project received the green light in October 2010 and in February 2013 passed a Final Design Review. Six months later, the MPG and CSIC, the observatory’s owners, made an independent evaluation concluding that CARMENES had to be ready for operations at the end of 2015. Since then, fulfilling the calendar was the driver of all project decisions. Moreover, the observatory’s survival was linked to the instrument’s success: should the instrument fail, the observatory would be closed. On the contrary, the instrument’s success would give unique capabilities to the Observatory for Big Science. Such a challenge became to be our private Olympic Games: we had to be on time. This decision definitively impacted on the project dynamics, there was no room for a delay. The deadline, December 31st, 2015, was controlled by a strict tracking of the critical path; calendar deviations were corrected with risky decisions while fast tracking or even crashing methods were applied.

The management scenario was far from optimum: most key people in the project shared their time with other duties; the observatory funding cuts; the budget was tight and distributed among the 11 partner centers with their own different rules, etc. Despite these difficulties, the close coordination among the project manager, the system engineer and the work package managers, the hard work of the whole team, and the support from the observatory were our best bets.

Two frenetic years after the calendar decision, we had manufactured, integrated and tested the two spectrographs and we were commissioning the instrument. The instrument first light took place on November, 9th, 2015 and CARMENES entered in operation at the end of December 2015. This paper describes the keys to success.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 August 2016
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9911, Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI, 99110P (8 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232433
Show Author Affiliations
M. L. García-Vargas, FRACTAL S.L.N.E (Spain)
J. Caballero, Ctr. de Astrobiología (Spain)
A. Pérez-Calpena, FRACTAL S.L.N.E (Spain)
Pedro Amado, Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (Spain)
Walter Seifert, Landessternwarte Königstuhl-ZAH (Germany)
Marco Azzaro, German-Spanish Astronomical Ctr. (Spain)
Holger Mandel, Landessternwarte Königstuhl-ZAH (Germany)
Andreas Quirrenbach, Landessternwarte Königstuhl-ZAH (Germany)
Ignasi Ribas, Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (Spain)
Ansgar Reiners, Georg-August-Univ. Göttingen (Germany)
Eike Guenther, Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg (Germany)
Lluís Gesa, Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (Spain)
David Galadí, German-Spanish Astronomical Ctr. (Spain)
Jesús Aceituno, German-Spanish Astronomical Ctr. (Spain)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9911:
Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI
George Z. Angeli; Philippe Dierickx, Editor(s)

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