New baseline schedule for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope

20 December 2018

Since the ESO Council gave their “green light” to start the construction of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in 2014, the programme has been advancing rapidly. To date, almost 90% (by value) of the external contracts have been awarded for the design and manufacture of the telescope, optics, components and instruments.

ESO continuously monitors the performance of ongoing contracts and the schedule of the programme. With the facts available today, ESO has assessed the current situation of the ongoing work and the tight schedule for the products and activities still to be procured. In light of this, ESO has decided to revise the ELT’s baseline schedule. As a result, First Light, previously scheduled for the end of 2024, is currently planned for the end of 2025.

Despite the postponement of the First Light, the schedules committed to in all running contracts and agreements with the ELT industrial contractors and institute partners remain unchanged. ESO will continue to work closely with its contractors and partners to ensure that all existing contractual schedules are met, and that the ELT is delivered as soon as possible.

The scientific strength and uniqueness of the ELT will not be affected by this development. Though the new schedule pushes back the First Light date, the telescope’s observational capabilities remain unparalleled. When the world’s largest optical telescope begins its operations, it will offer astronomers a unique opportunity to tackle some of the biggest challenges in astrophysics and will vastly advance our scientific knowledge of the Universe.



Calum Turner
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6670

About the Announcement



Construction site of the Extremely Large Telescope
Construction site of the Extremely Large Telescope