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Proceedings Paper

Completion and commissioning of the Southern African Large Telescope
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Paper Abstract

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) was completed in 2005 and began initial scientific operations in August of that year. Built in just under 6 years and on budget, SALT has been a good example of a successfully managed telescope project where systems engineering disciplines have been applied to good effect. This paper discusses the experiences of completing and commissioning SALT and its first-light instruments and the early scientific operations. Lessons learned in integrating the various telescope subsystems and implementation of the telescope control system are presented. First Light was announced on 1 September 2005 following the installation of the last of the 91 mirror segments and the commissioning of the UV-visible imager, SALTICAM. This was soon followed by the first scientific observations and the beginning of the commissioning phase for the active optics system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 2006
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 6267, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes, 62670Z (23 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.673750
Show Author Affiliations
David A. H. Buckley, SALT Foundation (South Africa)
Gerhard P. Swart, SALT Foundation (South Africa)
Jacobus G. Meiring, SALT Foundation (South Africa)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6267:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes
Larry M. Stepp, Editor(s)

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