A second generation near-infrared instrument was built by the University of Colorado for the ARC 3.5 meter telescope and is being commissioned at the Apache Point Observatory. An initial engineering run, first light, commissioning observations, and initial facility science operations have been accomplished in the last year. Instrument imaging performance was good to excellent from first light and consortium observers began to employ the instrument on a shared-risk basis immediately after commissioning operations. Instrument optical and mechanical performance during this testing and operations phase are discussed. Detector system (Rockwell Hawaii-1RG 1024x1024 HgCdTe focal plane array with Leach controller) characteristics during these early operations are detailed along with ongoing efforts for system optimization. High resolution (R~10,000) spectroscopy is planned employing a Queensgate (now IC Optical) cryogenic Fabry-Perot etalon, though mechanical difficulties with the etalon precluded a system performance demonstration. The Consortium has decided that the instrument will retain the name NIC-FPS (Near Infrared Camera and Fabry-Perot Spectrometer) after commissioning.
A near-infrared instrument is being built for the ARC 3.5 meter telescope that will operate in both an imaging and a narrow band, full field spectroscopic mode. The 4.5' x 4.5' fild-of-view is imaged onto a new-generation, low-noise Rockwell Hawaii-1RG 1024x1024 HgCdTe detector. High resolution (R~10,000) spectroscopy is accomplished by employing a Queensgate (now IC Optical) cryogenic Fabry-Perot etalon. The instrument is housed in a large Dewar of innovative, light-weight design. This report describes the as-built opto-mechanical system for the instrument and the work remaining before deployment at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico.