The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is an 8.4m telescope now in construction on Cerro Pachón, in Chile. This telescope is designed to conduct a 10-year survey of the southern sky in which it will map the entire night sky every few nights. In order to achieve this goal, the telescope mount has been designed to achieve high accelerations that will allow the system to change the observing field in just 2 seconds. These rapid slews will subject the M1M3 mirror to high inertial and changing gravitational forces that has to be actively compensated for in order to keep the mirror safe, aligned, and properly figured during operations. The LSST M1M3 active support system is composed of six “hard point” actuators and 156 pneumatic actuators. The hard points define the mirror position in the mirror cell (with little or no applied force) and hold that position while observing in order to maintain the alignment of the telescope optics. The pneumatic actuators provide the force-distributed mirror support plus a known (static) figure correction as well as dynamic optical figure optimizations coming from other components of the Active Optics System. Optimizing this mirror support system required the introduction of innovative control concepts in the control loops (Inner and Outer). The Inner Loop involves an extensive pressure control loop to ensure precise force feedback for each pneumatic actuator while the Outer Loop includes telescope motion sensors to provide the real-time feedback to compensate for the changing external inertial and gravitational forces. These optimizations allow the mirror support system to maximize the hard point force-offloading while keeping the glass safe when slewing and during seismic events.
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) primary/tertiary (M1M3) mirror cell is a 25-ton, 9-meter x 9-meter x 2- meter steel weldment that supports the 19-ton borosilicate M1M3 monolith mirror on the telescope and acts as the lower vessel of the coating chamber when optically coating the mirror surfaces. The M1M3 telescope mirror cell contract was awarded to CAID Industries, Inc., of Tucson, Arizona in October 2015. After the mirror cell final acceptance in October 2017, the integration of the mirror support system started. The M1M3 cell assembly with the surrogate mirror will take place in a dedicated controlled-environment area at CAID Industries. All components of the mirror support system that were developed and tested by the LSST Telescope and Site M1M3 team at the NOAO offices in Tucson have been moved to CAID premises and have been integrated into the cell by a team of LSST, CAID and Richard F. Caris Mirror lab personnel. After completion of the cell integration and its assembly with the surrogate, a test phase that includes zenith and offzenith testing for the mirror support system will be carried by the LSST team. These tests aim to verify that the active support system components, mirror control, and software are performing as expected and the mirror support system is safe for the next step, the M1M3 cell to borosilicate glass assembly and tests at the RFC Mirror Lab of the University of Arizona.
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) primary/tertiary mirror is an 8.4-meter cast borosilicate monolith. The hardpoints form a hexapod that is used to define the location of the M1M3 relative to the mirror cell, as the pneumatic figure actuators, which support the mass of the M1M3 during operation, are unable to define position. The hardpoints must have high stiffness, precise displacement control, and features to limit loads in all six degrees of freedom in order to protect the mirror. Assembly of the hardpoints and verification of the hardpoints and their requirements was undertaken in the summer and fall of 2017.
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope1 (LSST) is an altitude-azimuth mounted three mirror telescope and camera. The primary (M1) and tertiary (M3) mirrors are integrated into a single, monolithic borosilicate substrate 8.42 m diameter. The annular secondary (M2) mirror is located above the M1M3 mirror and the camera is nested inside the M2. The M1M3 mirror is supported on a mirror cell by two independent systems: one system is for Active Mode and the other for Static Mode.
During observing, or Active Mode2, the M1M3 mirror is supported by an array of 156 support and figure control actuators consisting of 268 pneumatic cylinders that react to gravity and inertial loads and provide figure error correction. Load cells on the actuators measure forces that are communicated to the M1M3 control system. However, the figure actuators do not define the mirror position. This is defined with six axially stiff linear actuators called hardpoints3 arranged in a hexapod pattern to restrain rigid body motion of the mirror in a kinematic fashion. By adjusting the length of each hardpoint, the mirror can be adjusted in all six degrees of freedom with respect to the cell. Displacement sensors and load cells on the hardpoints communicate displacements and forces to the control system, which processes the telemetry and issues force corrections to the figure actuators to zero out any loads and moments on the hardpoints.
In Static Mode, the M1M3 mirror is no longer supported by figure actuators and the position sensing of the hard point hexapod is inactive. A second support system consisting of 288 wire rope isolators called Static Supports come into play. The static supports mechanically capture the mirror whether in Active or Static Mode and in the event the mirror experiences motion beyond the active motion range in any direction. The static supports also safely support the mirror during seismic events for all elevation angles. In active mode, the static supports do not contact the mirror and thus, do not affect the mirror positioning or figure.
This paper focuses on the detailed design, development, testing, integration, and current status of the M1M3 pneumatic figure actuators.