In the past week the HPF team from Penn State came out to remove the last components of the MRS and install the calibration enclosure for the HPF. This work went well and their enclosure is now in place. They have approved the floor paint which will go below the HPF main enclosure when they bring it out in late 2014 or early 2015.
We also made a jump forward with the mirror Strip And Wash (SAW) room. This room is connected to the mirror coating chamber and now we can do a final ZrO strip of the surface and a ultra pure water rinse and take it directly into the coating room without leaving a clean room area. This SAW room is now being used in a very manual mode and we hope to automate some components in the future.
This past week we made some small improvements in the tracker performance but we continue to have problems with the encoder. We will continue to work on this problem this week.
This week may be a little slower until we can get the problems with the tracker fixed. This will give the operations support team a chance to catch up with maintenance issues and make progress on other projects like the mirror washing room.
We also may have some contractors for Veliz Construction on site to begin the process of aluminum taping of the control building roof. This will reduce its emissivity and should help it from super-cooling at night and sending cold air into the dome. Unfortunately for Veliz the wind does not look like it will give them much of a break to actually get the work done.
It has been slightly slow going with the new track electronics. We have found that some communications are flaky (bad mil-spec connections) and many of the motors require significant retuning. The PFIP test mass is in place but we want to make sure we have all motions largely tuned and reliable before we pull down the test mass and replace it with the hexapod assembly and the PFIP frame.
We have had several pieces of bad new from the University of Arizona group who are assembling the HET corrector. At the moment we have had a slip in the delivery date of three weeks and may see further slips in the near future depending upon the nature of the problems they have encountered.
Later this week the HPF team from Penn State will arrive and will be shipping out the last of the MRS and FIF components and assembling the calibration enclosure for the HPF.
In the last week we sorted out a number of small electronics issues with the tracker motion. These involved repotting components on boards, dry fittings, poor solder joints and one software bug. Once these were sorted out we were able to run tracks motions and slews in both axes. While this work was taking place the mechanical team finished putting the hexapod assembly together.
This week we will put on the hexapod test mass on the tracker to make sure that things move along smoothly. If that works well we will pull down the test mass and put up the hexapod assembly and start wiring it up.
During the last week they were able to communicate with all of the limit switches and sensors for the X tracker motion. Late in the week (including some weekend work) they installed the Y motors and were able to test that both the fine motion and the “antigravity” drive.
This week they hope to start integrating the motions in both X and Y as well as installing the end stops for the tracker hard stops. If all goes well they will install hexapod test weights late in the week and check that all motion is smooth with this extra added wait. Meanwhile some of the mechanical team is putting the hexapods back together.
Next week will be dedicated to getting the hexapods in place.