The unit has entered the final design and construction phase in July 2015, after an advanced preliminary design. The final design review is planned for fall 2017; thereafter, the unit will enter the construction and test phase. Acceptance in Europe after full optical calibration is planned for 2022, while the delivery to Cerro Armazones will occur in 2023.
Even if the fundamental concept has remained unchanged with respect to the other contactless large deformable mirrors, the specific requirements of the E-ELT unit posed new design challenges that required very peculiar solutions. Therefore, a significant part of the design phase has been focused on the validation of the new aspects, based on analysis, numerical simulations and experimental tests. Several experimental tests have been executed on the Demonstration Prototype, which is the 222 actuators prototype developed in the frame of the advanced preliminary design. We present the main project phases, the current design status and the most relevant results achieved by the validation tests.