The dynamical behavior of the primary mirror (M1) has an important impact on the control of the segments and the performance of the telescope. Control of large segmented mirrors with a large number of actuators and sensors and multiple control loops in real life is a challenging problem. In virtual life, modeling, simulation and analysis of the M1 bears similar difficulties and challenges. In order to capture the dynamics of the segment subunits (high frequency modes) and the telescope back structure (low frequency modes), high order dynamical models with a very large number of inputs and outputs need to be simulated. In this paper, different approaches for dynamical modeling and simulation of the M1 segmented mirror subject to various perturbations, e.g. sensor noise, wind load, vibrations, earthquake are presented.
The image motion (tip/tilt) of the telescope is dominated by two types of perturbations: a) atmospheric b)
wind load. The wind load effect on E-ELT can be an order of magnitude higher than the atmospheric effect.
Part of the image motion due to the wind load on the telescope structure is corrected by the main axis control
system (mainly large amplitude, low frequency errors). The residual tip/tilt is reduced by M5 and M4 mirror
units. M5 with its large stroke and relative low bandwidth (higher than main axes) corrects for large amplitude
and low frequency part of the image motion and M4 unit takes the higher frequency parts with smaller stroke
availability. In this paper the two stage control strategy of the E-ELT field stabilization is introduced. The
performance of the telescope due to the wind load and in the presence of the major imperfections in the control
system is presented.
Control of primary segmented mirror of an extremely large telescope with large number of actuators and sensors
and multiple control loops is a complex problem. The designer of the M1 unit is confronted to the dilemma of
trade-off between the relatively though performance requirements and the robust stability of the control loops.
Another difficulty arises from the contradictory requirements of the stiffness of the segment support system and
position actuators for wind rejection on one hand and vibration mitigation on other hand. The presence of low
frequency mechanical modes of the back structure and possible interaction of the large number of control loops
through such structure could be a limiting factor for achieving the required control bandwidths. To address these
issues a better understanding of dynamical behavior of segmented mirror is necessary. This paper addresses the
trade-offs on dynamical aspects of the M1 segmented mirror and the robust stability conditions of various control
The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) offers access to the four 8 m Unit Telescopes (UT) and the four
1.8 m Auxiliary Telescopes (AT) of the Paranal Observatory located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The fourth
AT has been delivered to operation in December 2006, increasing the flexibility and simultaneous baselines access of the
VLTI. Regular science operations are now carried on with the two VLTI instruments, AMBER and MIDI. The FINITO
fringe tracker is now used for both visitor and service observations with ATs and will be offered on UTs in October
2008, bringing thus the fringe tracking facility to VLTI instruments. In parallel to science observations, technical periods
are also dedicated to the characterization of the VLTI environment, upgrades of the existing systems, and development
of new facilities. We will describe the current status of the VLTI and prospects on future evolution.
FINITO (the VLTI three beam fringe-tracker) has been offered in September 2007 to the astronomical community
for observations with the scientific instruments AMBER and MIDI. In this paper, we describe the last
improvements of the fringe-tracking loop and its actual performance when operating with the 1.8m Auxiliary
Telescopes. We demonstrate the gain provided to the scientific observations. Finally, we discuss how FINITO
real-time data could be used in post-processing to enhance the scientific return of the facility.
During the past year the control of the 42m segmented primary mirror of the E-ELT has been studied.
This paper presents the progress in the areas of M1 figure control and control hardware implementation. The critical
issue of coupling through the supporting structure has been considered in the controller design. Different control
strategies have been investigated and from a tradeoff analysis modal control is proposed as a solution addressing the
topics of wind rejection as well as sensor noise in the presence of cross-coupling through the supporting structure.
Various implementations of the M1 Control System have been studied and a centralized architecture has been selected as
baseline. This approach offers maximum flexibility for further iterations. The controller design and main parts of the
control system are described.
he VLT observatory operated by ESO is located on Cerro Paranal in
Chile and consists of four identical 8-m telescopes and four 1.8-m
VLTI Auxiliary telescopes (ATs). In order to further improve the
tracking axes performance of telescopes regarding wind rejection,
different control techniques have been evaluated. Ongoing investigation and studies show that by measuring the
acceleration and using that in appropriate control strategy the
performance of telescope tracking in face of external perturbation
can be improved. The acceleration signal contains the non filtered
information (advanced phase compared to velocity and position) of
the perturbation load, e.g. wind load. As a result the reaction of
the control is faster and hence the perturbation rejection is more
efficient. In this paper, two acceleration feedback techniques are
discussed and the results of the measurement test on an AT telescope
Large telescopes pose a continuous challenge to systems engineering due to their complexity in terms of requirements,
operational modes, long duty lifetime, interfaces and number of components. A multitude of decisions must be taken
throughout the life cycle of a new system, and a prime means of coping with complexity and uncertainty is using models
as one decision aid. The potential of descriptive models based on the OMG Systems Modeling Language (OMG
SysML<sup>TM</sup>) is examined in different areas: building a comprehensive model serves as the basis for subsequent activities of
soliciting and review for requirements, analysis and design alike. Furthermore a model is an effective communication
instrument against misinterpretation pitfalls which are typical of cross disciplinary activities when using natural language
only or free-format diagrams. Modeling the essential characteristics of the system, like interfaces, system structure and
its behavior, are important system level issues which are addressed. Also shown is how to use a model as an analysis tool
to describe the relationships among disturbances, opto-mechanical effects and control decisions and to refine the control
use cases. Considerations on the scalability of the model structure and organization, its impact on the development
process, the relation to document-centric structures, style and usage guidelines and the required tool chain are presented.
The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) is the first general-user interferometer that offers near- and mid-infrared long-baseline interferometric observations in service and visitor mode to the whole astronomical community. Over the last two years, the VLTI has moved into its regular science operation mode with the two science instruments, MIDI and AMBER, both on all four 8m Unit Telescopes and the first three 1.8m Auxiliary Telescopes. We are currently devoting up to half of the available time for science, the rest is used for characterization and improvement of the existing system, plus additional installations. Since the first fringes with the VLTI on a star were obtained on March 17, 2001, there have been five years of scientific observations, with the different instruments, different telescopes and baselines. These observations have led so far to more than 40 refereed publications. We describe the current status of the VLTI and give an outlook for its near future.
FINITO is the first generation VLTI fringe sensor, optimised for three beam observations, recently installed at Paranal and currently used for VLTI optimisation. The PRIMA FSU is the second generation, optimised for astrometry in dual-feed mode, currently in construction. We discuss the constraints of fringe tracking at VLTI, the basic functions required for stabilised interferometric observations, and their different implementation in the two instruments, with remarks on the most critical technical aspects. We provide an estimate of the expected performance and describe some of their possible observing and calibration modes, with reference to the current scientific combiners.
The Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) on Cerro Paranal (2635 m) in Northern Chile reached a major milestone in September 2003 when the mid infrared instrument MIDI was offered for scientific observations to the community. This was only nine months after MIDI had recorded first fringes. In the meantime, the near infrared instrument AMBER saw first fringes in March 2004, and it is planned to offer AMBER in September 2004.
The large number of subsystems that have been installed in the last two years - amongst them adaptive optics for the 8-m Unit Telescopes (UT), the first 1.8-m Auxiliary Telescope (AT), the fringe tracker FINITO and three more Delay Lines for a total of six, only to name the major ones - will be described in this article. We will also discuss the next steps of the VLTI mainly concerned with the dual feed system PRIMA and we will give an outlook to possible future extensions.
MIDI (MID-infrared Interferometric instrument) gave its first N-band (8 to 13 micron) stellar interference fringes on the VLTI (Very Large Telescope Interferometer) at Cerro Paranal Observatory (Chile) in December 2002. An lot of work had to be done to transform it, from a successful physics experiment, into a premium science instrument which is offered to the worldwide community of astronomers since September 2003. The process of "paranalization", carried out by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in collaboration with the MIDI consortium, has aimed to make MIDI simpler to use, more reliable, and more efficient. We describe in this paper these different aspects of paranalization (detailing the improvement brought to the observation software) and the lessons we have learnt. Some general rules, for bringing an interferometric instrument into routine operation in an observatory, can be drawn from the experience with MIDI. We also report our experience of the first "service mode" run of an interferometer (VLTI + MIDI) that took place in April 2004.
In the last two years the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has, on one hand grown with the addition of new subsystems, on the other hand matured with experience from commissioning and operation. Two adaptive optics systems for the 8-m unit telescopes have been fully integrated in the VLTI infrastructure. The first scientific instrument, MIDI, has been commissioned and is now being offered to the community. A second scientific instrument AMBER is currently being commissioned. The performance of the interferometer is being enhanced by the installation of a dedicated fringe sensor, FINITO, and a tip-tilt sensor in the interferometric laboratory, IRIS, and the associated control loops. Four relocatable auxiliary 1.8 m telescopes and three additional delay lines are being added to the infrastructure. At the same time the design and development of the dual feed PRIMA facility, which will have major impact on the existing control system, is in full swing. In this paper we review the current status of the VLTI control system and assess the impact on complexity and reliability caused by this explosion in size. We describe the applied methods and technologies to maximize the performance and reliability in order to keep VLTI and its control system a competitive, reliable and productive facility.
Traditionally telescope main axes controllers use a cascaded PI structure. We investigate the benefits and limitations of this and question if better performance can be achieved with modern control techniques. Our interest is mainly to improve disturbance rejection since the tracking performance normally is easy to achieve. Comparison is made to more advanced controller structures using H-∠infinity design. This type of controller is more complex and needs a mathematical model of the telescope dynamics. We discuss how to obtain this model and also how to reduce it to a more manageable size using state of the art model reduction techniques. As a design example the VLT altitude axis is chosen.
The increasing number of digital control applications in the context of the VLT, and particularly the VLT Interferometer, brought the need to find a common solution to address the problems of performance and maintainability. Tools for Advanced Control (TAC) aims at helping both control and software engineers in the design and prototyping of real-time control applications by providing them with a set of standard functions and an easy way to combine them to create complex control algorithms. In this paper we describe the software architecture and design of TAC, the VLT standard for digital control applications. Algorithms are described at schematic level and take the form of a set of interconnected function blocks. Periodical execution of the algorithm as well as features like runtime modification of parameters and probing of internal data are also managed by TAC, allowing the application designers to avoid spending time writing low value software code and therefore focus on application-specific concerns. We also summarize the results achieved on the first actual applications using TAC, to manage real-time control or digital signal processing algorithms, currently deployed and being commissioned at Paranal Observatory.
The Very Large Telescope (VLT) Observatory on Cerro Paranal (2635 m) in Northern Chile is approaching completion. After the four 8-m Unit Telescopes (UT) individually saw first light in the last years, two of them were combined for the first time on October 30, 2001 to form a stellar interferometer, the VLT Interferometer. The remaining two UTs will be integrated into the interferometric array later this year. In this article, we will describe the subsystems of the VLTI and the planning for the following years.
On March 17, 2001, the VLT interferometer saw for the first time interferometric fringes on sky with its two test siderostats on a 16m baseline. Seven months later, on October 29, 2001, fringes were found with two of the four 8.2m Unit Telescopes (UTs), named Antu and Melipal, spanning a baseline of 102m. First shared risk science operations with VLTI will start in October 2002. The time between these milestones is used for further integration as well as for commissioning of the interferometer with the goal to understand all its characteristics and to optimize performance and observing procedures. In this article we will describe the various commissioning tasks carried out and present some results of our work.
After having established routine science operations for four 8 m single dish telescopes and their first set of instruments at the Paranal Observatory, the next big engineering challenge for ESO has been the VLT Interferometer. Following an intense integration period at Paranal, first fringes were obtained in the course of last year, first with two smaller test siderostats and later with two 8 m VLT telescopes. Even though optical interferometry today may be considered more experimental than single telescope astronomy, we have aimed at developing a system with the same requirements on reliability and operability as for a single VLT telescope. The VLTI control system is responsible for controlling and co-ordinating all devices making up VLTI, where a telescope is just one out of many subsystems. Thus the pure size of the complete system increases the complexity and likelihood of failure. Secondly, some of the new subsystems introduced, in particular the delay lines and the associated fringe-tracking loop, have more demanding requirements in terms of control loop bandwidth, computing power and communication. We have developed an innovative generic multiprocessor controller within the VLT framework to address these requirements. Finally, we have decided to use the VLT science operation model, whereby the observation is driven by observation blocks with minimum human real-time interaction, which implies that VLTI is seen as one machine and not as a set of telescopes and other subsystems by the astronomical instrument. In this paper we describe the as-built architecture of the VLTI control and data flow system, emphasising how new techniques have been incorporated, while at the same time the investments in technology and know-how obtained during the VLT years have been protected. The result has been a faster development cycle, a robustness approaching that of VLT single dish telescopes and a "look and feel" identical to all other ESO observing facilities. We present operation, performance and development cost data to confirm this. Finally we discuss the plans for the coming years, when more and more subsystems will be added in order to explore the full potential of the VLTI.