NRAO ALMA Explorer Learn and Explore NSF AUI
Visit ALMA and its Chilean environs with exclusive narrated and hosted video tours.
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Telescope Assembly Areas

Creating the world's largest astronomical observatory needs the collaboration of many international partners.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory built ALMA with partners from Europe, East Asia, and the Republic of Chile.

This footage, taken in 2009, shows pieces of the ALMA telescopes at their respective assembly grounds. Each piece made a long and complicated journey over land and sea.

First, you see the European delivery site run by the Alcatel-EIE-MT Aerospace Consortium, known as the AEM area. AEM was responsible for the construction of 25 of the large 12-meter (39-foot) telescopes for ALMA. Join Adrian Russell as he explains the activities at this European telescope area.

Next door to the AEM area is the East Asian staging area run by the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO). They provided the Morita Compact Array (ACA), a set of twelve 7-meter (23-foot) telescopes and four 12-meter telescopes, which now work together as the high-sensitivity heart of ALMA.

Finally, this enormous building catered to the assembly of the 25 North American telescopes designed and built by VertexRSI, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation. During the ALMA construction phase, this so-called Vertex Assembly Building housed several 12-meter telescopes in various stages of assembly.
The Vertex building also serves as shelter during 70mph dust storms, allowing staff to continue safely working even in the harshest of weather.

Join Adrian Russell and Lutz Stenvers for an exclusive tour inside the Vertex Assembly Building..