The GTC (Gran Telescopio Canarias) is a 10,4 meter segmented telescope currently being integrated at the ORM in La Palma, Spain. It is a partnership between Spain, Mexico and the University of Florida. Main science drivers for the GTC are image quality, operational efficiency and reliability. First light is planned for mid-2005.
The GTC Project, initiated in 1996, is well advanced in its integration. Construction started in October 1999. The main building and dome were finished by end 2002 and are now enclosing the assembly work of the telescope structure. All telescope subsystems are finished and in La Palma where the telescope structure keeps growing. The segments of the primary mirror, probably one of the most demanding part of the GTC, have also started to be delivered by the polisher. Three science instruments are starting their integration and are expected to arrive at the telescope well on time. Two second-generation instruments, including one exploiting the future Adaptive Optics capabilities of the GTC, are under development. Preparation for operation and maintenance has started to ensure a smooth transition from construction into the operation phase. The current status of the project and the short term plans are presented here.