Modern Machine Shop

JUL 2018

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Page 87 of 147

MMS JULY 2018 86 WORLD'S L ARGEST DIGITAL CAMER A cameras, which are typically plug-and-play units that can be swapped out with other instruments, the LSST camera is intended to stay put. "Ours is really designed as a complete system," Mr. Nordby says. With a built-in camera, the LSST should have reduced systematic errors compared to other telescopes. But it's also more challenging to design, build and integrate. The camera will be cantilevered into the middle of the telescope, so access is limited and repairs might mean signif- icant downtime for the telescope. As such, Mr. Nordby emphasizes the need for high reliability in its components, which translates directly into manufacturing challenges in building them. The Vision Led by the LSST Corp., the telescope project began in 2007 with initial proposals and R&D work. Now, the project is nearing its conclusion. SLAC is one of many public and private collaborators, whose ranks include the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and various laboratories worldwide. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding the telescope and data manage- ment system, and the Department of Energy's Office of Science is funding the camera directly. SLAC researchers in California have spent the past 10 years designing and engineering a complex, 3.2 gigapixel digital camera capable of capturing what the LSST will see. The camera consists of modules containing subsystems such as its shutter, a focal plane made of charge-cou- pled device (CCD) sensors, a cryostat to keep these sensors cool and a filter-changing system, among others. The modules are tested at the lab as they are completed and verified throughout the integration process. Around all these subsystems will be an even larger aluminum structure, forming a complete The LSST digital camera consists of a number of subsystems that are being tested and integrated at SLAC. The parts that Keller Technology machined for the project—the cylindrical camera housing shown at the bottom of this graphic and the back flange connected to the utility trunk—will protect and support the overall camera within the telescope. Image: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

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