(BIVN) – As winter approaches, the removal of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory from the summit of Maunakea is ongoing.
The University of Hawaii’s Maunakea Management Board met in a virtual meeting on October 3rd. Greg Chun, the Executive Director of Maunakea Stewardship at the university, gave an update on the decommissioning progress.
“CSO is moving along rapidly,” Chun said. “The work continues on removing all of the internal structures, equipment, fixtures from the inside of the observatory.”
Chun said Isemoto Contracting “was up there removing the structure that held the mirror and that now needs to be de-assembled and will be packed into a shipping container for shipment to Chile. Goodfellow is up there now and they are working on removing all the interior structures.”
“What they’re hoping to be able to to do is finish this phase of the work sometime in the next 30 to 45 days,” Chun continued, “and then the inside of the observatory will be completely empty. At which point they will close down for the winter and then resume deconstruction of the exterior building in the spring.”
“The work has gone – knock on wood – very smoothly to this point in time,” Chun added. “We’re really happy that that is proceeding as expeditiously and as safely as possible. It’s quite an operation, as the project manager and the CSO Caltech director Sunil Gowala have said. They don’t have any experience in taking something like this apart. They only have experience in building it, so it’s been a learning process for them.
Chun also said Caltech had hired a videography team to capture and document the decommissioning, but the video team members “got sick and they couldn’t handle the altitude, so they’ve had to scrap that plan” after only being on the summit “for a day or two”.
Caltech continues to document the process with photos posted to the CSO website.