The TSPM will be suitable for general science projects intended to improve the knowledge of the universe established on the Official Mexican Program for Science, Technology and Innovation 2014-2018. The telescope efforts are headed by two Mexican institutions in name of the Mexican astronomical community: the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and the Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica. The telescope has been financially supported mainly by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACYT). It is under development by Mexican scientists and engineers from the Center for Engineering and Industrial Development. This development is supported by a Mexican-American scientific cooperation, through a partnership with the University of Arizona (UA), and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). M3 Engineering and Technology Corporation in charge of enclosure and building design.
The TSPM will be designed to allow flexibility and possible upgrades in order to maximize resources. Its optical and mechanical designs are based upon those of the Magellan and MMT telescopes. The TSPM primary mirror and its cell will be provided by the INAOE and UA. The telescope will be optimized from the near ultraviolet to the near infrared wavelength range (0.35-2.5 m), but will allow observations up to 26μm. The TSPM will initially offer a f/5 Cassegrain focal station. Later, four folded Cassegrain and two Nasmyth focal stations are contemplated, nominally with focal ratios of f/5 and f/11. The concept will allow the use of existing instruments like MMIRS and MEGACAM. Available experience from currently working ground-based telescopes will be integrated with up-to-date technology specially for control and information management systems.
Its mount is the well-known azimuth-elevation configuration. The telescope total mass is estimated in about 245 metric tons, with a total azimuth load of 185 metric tons including around 110 metric tons as the total elevation load. A tracking error lower than 0.03 arcsec RMS is expected under steady wind up to 50 Km/h. An open-loop pointing accuracy between 10 and 2 arcsec is planned. The TSPM is in its design phase. It is the first large optical ground-based telescope to be designed and developed primarily by Mexican scientists and engineers. This endeavor will result in the improvement of the scientific and technical capabilities of Mexico including complex scientific instruments development, systems engineering and project management for large engineering projects. In this paper, which aims to gather the attention of the community for further discussions, we present the engineering preliminary design, the basic architecture and challenging technical endeavors of the TSPM project.