Consultancy Contract for E-ELT Dome and Main Structure Awarded

31 May 2013

On 30 May 2013 ESO signed a contract with the Danish company Ramboll for consultancy services to support ESO during the procurement and construction of the dome and main structure of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

The actual dome and main structure contract itself will be the largest ever placed by ESO, and will cover not only the giant telescope enclosure, which is almost 100 metres in diameter (the size of the Colosseum in Rome), but also the massive precision components that form the telescope’s mounting and tube. This big contract to build the dome and main structure is expected to be awarded towards the end of 2014. To supplement ESO’s own in-house efforts and provide expert advice for this contract over a wide range of disciplines, Ramboll will follow the dome and main structure contract alongside ESO.

This is an extremely ambitious project with colossal challenges, both technically and from a planning perspective. We are proud to have been chosen as consultant for the project and we regard it as a tribute to our competences. We see it as a great opportunity to further develop our skills within the field of ‘Big Science’”, says Lars Ostenfeld Riemann, Group Director at Ramboll.

The E-ELT is one of the biggest projects in ground-based astronomy in Europe. It will allow great advances in astrophysical knowledge, through detailed studies of the first objects in the Universe, planets orbiting other stars, supermassive black holes, and the nature and distribution of the dark matter and dark energy that dominate the Universe.

The procurement process for the E-ELT dome and main structure started in June 2012 with the release of information that introduced this forthcoming procurement to industry within ESO Member States and invited interested potential prime contractors to participate first in face-to-face meetings and, later on, in the E-ELT Industry Day, an event organised by ESO in Munich in October 2012 (ann12054).

The consultancy contract with Ramboll runs for an initial period of five years, from 1 July 2013 till 30 June 2018, with options to extend the contract to up to nine years, i.e. until 30 June 2022.

The construction of the E-ELT is scheduled to begin in late 2013, with first light expected about ten years later.

Edit (January 2024): This announcement is over 10 years old and some of the information in it is now inaccurate. For example, the diameter of the ELT dome is, at about 88 metres, smaller than that of the Colosseum in Rome. Furthermore, first light for the telescope is now expected in 2028. For the most up to date information, please refer to


Lars Lindberg Christensen
ESO education and Public Outreach Department
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49-89-3200-6761
Cell: +49-173-3872-621

About the Announcement



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