Giat Industries selected for construction of the "Very Large Telescope"
2 June 1995
Versailles-Satory (France) May 31, 1995 - Giat Industries has just obtained a contract from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) for the construction of the primary and tertiary mirror supports and the positioning apparatus of the world's largest optical telescope. This contract, worth almost 140 million francs, represents over 100,000 hours of work. It was won by Gitech, a division of Giat Industries, in collaboration with the Sfim group, following an international competition between the largest European groups in the space field. Gitech is charged with the development of civil and military industrial equipment for the Giat Industries group, in particular in high technology fields.
The VLT (Very Large Telescope) will be installed in Chile before the year 2000; the delivery schedule provides for reception of the first assembly in May 1997. It will consist of four telescopes of 8.2m diameter, providing, in its most powerful configuration, a close-up view of an object measuring one meter on the surface of the moon.
The cell, built by Gitech, is one of the key parts of the telescope. It mainly consists of a very rigid metal structure and an electro-hydraulic system of more that 200 hydraulic jacks and 150 electrically-controlled jacks linking the metallic structure to the mirror. This structure, produced to an original design of laser-welded steel chambers, weighs less than 10 tonnes and will support over 37 tonnes of mirror and equipment, while guaranteeing precise positioning to within a micron. The electro-hydraulic jack system, manufactured in collaboration with the Sfim group, will support and position the mirror, and correct its geometry by applying a precise distribution of forces to its rear. The assembly is designed to meet the requirements of para-seismic safety. Gitech is also producing the computerised control system to ensure the operation and the reliability of the assembly.
Mme Catherine Ladauge