Test-Bed Telescope

Tracking near-Earth objects from La Silla

The Test-Bed Telescope (TBT) is a project in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) hosted at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in northern Chile. It is designed to survey transients and fast-moving objects.

Operating alongside a similar project in the northern hemisphere, the 56-cm Test-Bed Telescope will act as a precursor to a full autonomous optical telescope network and provide surveillance and tracking services for artificial and natural near-Earth objects (NEOs). These planned future systems will be entirely robotic, managed by software that performs real-time scheduling of the observations. At the end of the night the observing systems will report the positions and other information of the objects detected.

The Test-Bed Telescope will demonstrate and validate the instrument’s hardware and software capabilities, such as automatic scheduling, remote real-time control, and autonomous data processing.

The TBT’s northern hemisphere counterpart is located at the Cebreros Satellite Tracking Station in Spain.

The Test-Bed Telescope is the first project to be implemented under a cooperation agreement between ESO and ESA. Signed in August 2015, the agreement set the terms and conditions for a mutual cooperation and the exchange of scientific research information between the two organisations.

Test-Bed Telescope

Name: Test-Bed Telescope
Location: La Silla
Altitude: 2 375 m
Enclosure: Dome
Type: Clamshell
Optical Design: Prime focus astrograph
Diameter. Primary M1: 0.56 m
Material. Primary M1: Astro-Sital
Diameter. Secondary M2: 0.25 m (Wynne 4 lens corrector)
Material. Secondary M2: Glass
Mount: German Equatorial Mount
First Light date: 2021
Active Optics: No
Images taken with the Telescope: Link
Images of the Telescope: Link
Videos of the Telescope: Link
Press Releases with the Telescope: Link