The CTA-North Observatory: a network of opportunities for Spanish industry

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Tomorrow, Wednesday 28th November, in the conference room of the CDTI in Madrid (Calle el Cid, 4) there will be an informative event in which the specialists related to research, development and innovation in major scientific installation will present the project of the future Cherenkov array of telescopes (CTA) and will analyze their strategic and business value. To be specific the meeting will centre on the opportunities to be generated by the production and the installation of the telescopes of medium and large size which will make up the CTA-North observatory: the Large Size Telescopes (LST) and the Medium Size Telescopes (MST).

On behalf of the IAC, which is the institution managing the finance from the European fund for Regional Development (FEDER) for the Spanish contribution to CTA-North, presentations will be made by Ramón García López, Principal Investigator in the IAC for the CTA project, Javier Herrera Llorente, manager in the IAC of the CTA project, and Pablo Redondo Caicoya, the person in technical charte of the IACTec project.

Important project

The CTA network is an ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure) ground based astronomical insfrastructure for the study of the Universe in the very high energy range, which will yield information about the most violent and extreme events which occur in the Universe.It will be made up of over 100 telescopes, of three different sizes, situated in both northern and southern hemispheres. The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, the ORM,(Garafía, La Palma) is the site chose for CTA-North.

The LST´s with mirrors of 23 m in diameter, are the largest telescopes in the CTA array. On October 10th a prototype, LST-1 was inaugurated, which in all probability will be the first of the four large sized telescopes which will form a part of the CTA-North observatory. The LST’s will be surrounded by a number of telescopes of 12m diameter, the MST’s.

Once the construction of LST-1 has finished, the production phase has started, whose aim is that the designs tested with the prototype be transferred to industry for the production of the remaining LST’s and their installation at the ORM. “ The IAC will produce the different subsystems of the LST-2, LST-3 and LST-4 telescopes, as well as some of the common infrastructure of CTA-north by means of the timed issue of open tenders for the Spanish and European industrial community “explains Herrera.

Redondo emphasizes that the CTA is an innovative project, which will require the development of products and technologies of high added value, because the majority of its components are not on sale nor are they comercial, so that the CTA is a “unique opportunity for Spanish industry to take up positions in the production and development of large telescopic installations”. He encourages companies to “participate in the tenders which the project will puto ut in the coming months in order to participate in the challenge offered by the CTA.

Building the CTA will costo ver 200 million euros, of which it is estimated that 90 million will be needed for the telescopes to be installed on La Palma. The CTA-north array, which it is foreseen will enter into operation in 2024, will involve and estimated investment, in the purchase of goods and services and in contracts for personnel, of over 2 million euros per year. “The investment consolidates the presence and the leadership of the astronomical observatories of the Canaries in the field of very high energy gamma ray astronomy, a field of research which is clearly important and has considerable scientific projection” stresses García López.

Cooperative network

The CTA is an international project in which 1,200 members from over 200 institutions in 31 countries are participating. Together they form the CTA Consortium, which is in charge of setting the scientific objectives of the Observatory and is participating in its design and the supply of components. In addition the Company CTAO gGmbH is the legal entity created to manage and implement the project, and is governed by a council of shareholders and associated members from the 13 countries involved.

The activities of the IAC in the construction of the cTA are funded by the project “The four Large Size Telescopes (LAT) of the CTA-North at the ORM” with reference ESFRI-2017-IAC-12 of the Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities, funded to a level of 85% by the European Fund of Regional Development (FEDER) of the Operational Programme of Intelligent Growht 2014-2020. The project is co-finances by the Funds for the Development of the Canaries (FDCAN) provided by the Cabildo of La Palma

The Observatories of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) are part of the network of Singular Scientific and Technical Infrastructures of Spain.

Programme: “Oportunidades industriales en la construcción de CTA-Norte”

Press Release de @CDTIoficial Agencia Española de Innovación