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Space Transportation Science Technology

Cryogenic Truck Services Remote Telescopes 38

coondoggie writes "Moving a 115-ton telescope down a mountain and 40 miles on the back of a humongous truck to a servicing facility is no task for the timid. It's a job the caretakers of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, no longer have to worry about thanks to a new custom designed truck that can transport and service ALMA's temperature-sensitive astronomical equipment without removing a telescope from the working array at 16,500 feet in the Chilean mountains."
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Cryogenic Truck Services Remote Telescopes

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  • by Man On Pink Corner ( 1089867 ) on Sunday September 04, 2011 @06:55PM (#37304654)

    ALMA is just insanely awesome. Electrical engineers are a dime a dozen, and there are a reasonable number of good RF/microwave people among them. Among them are the gurus who've made themselves household names in the industry. A few of those people are actually as smart, creative, and well-informed as they think they are.

    Then there are the guys who distribute phase-coherent millimeter wave LOs for hundreds of meters over fiber optics, and when they can't buy a mixer at Mini-Circuits that does what they want, they grow one from a freakin' crystal. Those guys all seem to end up at NRAO, even though there's no money in radio astronomy and even less glory.

    Respect to the NRAO folks for not only doing some of the most hardcore RF work on the planet and elsewhere, but maintaining open, paywall-free distribution of their R&D papers. This shouldn't be taken for granted nowadays. If you're an EE, you can (and should) lose a whole weekend just reading the ALMA papers.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard