WSP named construction manager for giant telescope project

15 January 2018 | By James Kenny

WSP has been picked as the construction manager for the Giant Magellan Telescope project in Chile.

The consulting engineer has been appointed by the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization Corporation (GMTO) as its construction management firm for the development of the telescope, the first of the next generation of giant ground-based telescopes that promise to revolutionise the understanding of the universe.

GMTO leads the planning, design and construction of the GMT on behalf of its international partners. As construction manager, WSP will play a leading role in executing construction activities at the site and at key contractor locations.

The GMT will be constructed at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, an astronomical observatory owned by the Carnegie Institution for Science in the southern Atacama Desert. 

The GMT is a multiple mirror telescope that will use seven of the largest monolithical glass mirrors. It will have a resolving power 10 times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope. The unprecedented light gathering power and angular resolution of the GMT will help to address many of the leading questions in 21st century astronomy. 

WSP will work on behalf of GMTO to oversee all aspects of the construction, including budget, schedule, cost estimation, change control and site acceptance.

“We are really pleased to be working on this landmark project, which once completed, should be the world's largest telescope,” said Miguel Sánchez, executive sponsor of the project.

“This project truly reflects the depth and breadth of our firm. Acting as an extension of the GMTO staff, the WSP construction management team will protect the client's interests in all areas of project implementation from planning and design through procurement and construction and into operation and maintenance.”

Commissioning of the telescope is scheduled to begin in 2023.

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