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24 September 2012 SPHERE-IRDIS assembly, integration and testing: from bits and metal to a planet-hunting machine
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SPHERE, a second-generation instrument for the VLT, is currently under performance validation before shipping to Chile. The IRDIS sub-system, an Infra-Red Dual-Imager and Spectrograph, was integrated on the SPHERE bench last December, and this paper tells the story of the 12 months preceding this milestone: the Assembly, integration and Tests (AIT) performed at Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM). Key points of the AIT strategy are then presented, and the successes and failures---human, technical, and managerial---of this adventure are discussed. We also report on the excellent optical quality achieved, paramount to guarantee ultimate performance of the SPHERE instrument, thanks to high-quality optical manufacture and a successfully applied alignment strategy.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


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