the Project

Project network

The Consumer is the Astronomical Community of the member states of ESO. Astronomers of these countries will be allowed to ask ESO for observing time with this instrument following exactly the same procedure as for any other ESO instrument. ESO ensures the necessary technical and organizational support. No exceptions or restrictions apply.

The Customer is ESO. On behalf of the Astronomical Community, ESO sub-contracts the realization of this instrument to the Contractor. ESO specifies the Technical Requirements and establishes a Statement of Work applicable to the Contractor, and verifies through Reviews held at various stages of the project that the project is led in fulfillment with the defined technical and managerial frame. As customer, ESO supervises the integration of the instrument and the software within the VLT environment.

The Science Team is distinguished from the Consortium. The Science Team is only linked to the instrument by the GTO agreement with ESO. The Science Team composition ensures the scientific return for each of the partners. Its composition will thus be directly linked to the investment each partner makes for the construction project. An internal Memorandum of Understanding states the rules for the science team constitution, competences and rights.

The contractor is a consortium described in the consortium page.

Status of the project

The Coudé Train had to be integrated directly at Paranal, and therefore had a different scheduling. In first half of 2016, it reached the PAE milestone, and then started to be installed and commissioned in Paranal Observatory. The installation of the Coudé Train has been achieved by mid 2017, allowing the Observatory to welcome the instrument integration team installation in the second half of 2017.

For the instrument itself, the phase of reinstallation at Paranal observatory, called Phase E, has been terminated in autumn 2017. The Preliminary Acceptance Europe, which is the last milestone before sending the instrument to the observatory of Paranal in Chile, was a long process of verification of the completion of the instrument, of its performances and of the related documentation. The PAE review meeting was held in Geneva on June 22nd, after which a few post PAE actions were undertaken, leading to an official green light to send to Chile, given on August 10th by the customer. The installation phase at Paranal, including the transport from Europe started then. These phases were planned in detail, as described in the more recent scheduling of the project (version 2017/10/02).

Since then, ESPRESSO got it first light in 1-UT mode on November 27th, 2017; and its first light in 4-UT mode on February 3rd, 2018. Five verification periods took places between end of November 2017 and July 2018. These periods showed several issues to be corrected, and therefore a few technical missions were planned.

Presently, on date of September 7th, 2018, a technical period is about to start, to make several modifications in order to enhance the instrument stability, enhance the instrument efficiency and solve a few problems on the optics (dust and scratches). The next paragraphs show the plans of these activities.

RFM replacement

The Red Folding Mirror has been scratched during transportation to Chile. We aretherefore on the way to replace it. A small project has been set up, involving IAC, Geneva and Merate. The installation at Paranal has to take place in October 2018 before handing the instrument over to the community. The phases are now planned in detail, as described in the more recent scheduling of the RFM replacement (version 2018/07/03).

Technical activities – Autumn 2018

The various activities linked with the 2018 September – October mission are described in the more recent scheduling of the mission (version 2018/08/29)

The milestones of the project are the following.

Milestone From TP Planned Date Site
TKO TP = 2011/02/01 Jan 17th–18th, 2011 Lisbon
PDR TP + 10 months Nov 29th–30th, 2011 ESO Garching
CCD FDR TP + 17 months Jun 18th, 2012 Porto
FDR TP + 27 months May 14th-16th, 2013 Garching
CT OFDR TP + 32 months October 29th, 2013 Paranal
Delta FDR TP + 47 months February 5th-6th, 2015 Vitacura
IRR: multiple TP + 50-69 months Apr 2015 – Nov 2016 Consortium premises
PAE: double TP + 63-76 months May 2016 – June 2017 Consortium premises
PAC TP + 90 months Spring 2019 ESO Paranal
FA TP + 114 months Spring 2021 ESO

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