Thursday, January 28, 2010

Taking M3 off!

The new engine hoist passed its load-test this morning so we're ready to remove M3 today! 

The M3 removal jig was set up & the relevant modifications were made (thanks Eben!), we'd run through the procedure check-list so everything's ready to go...


The clean room's more crowded than usual with the hoist & the M3 storage box in there as well.

The bolts attaching the M3 cell to the rest of the cage were removed & the 4 operators could then simultaneously, & very gingerly, crank down the car jacks to lower M3.


Once low enough to clear the cage, the cell was slid out along the "railway track" on its pair of "skateboards".

Proud fathers Francois & Ockert were there to greet the new arrival...


Hmmm - Almost as filthy as M5 was!


M3, still attached to the skateboards, leaves the rest of the SAC behind...


The lifting handles & straps were attached once the mirror was safely covered up.


With the hoist supporting the payload, the posts connecting the cell to the skateboards could be removed.  The precious cargo was then wheeled back to make space for the box M3 will live in for the next while.


Gently lowered into its snug new home...


At this stage it was time to take a closer look at the latest (& final!) SAC escapee - 60 kg of Zerodur with a spectacularly beautiful (surface) figure!


The attentions of a fish-eye lens turned M3 convex for a while...

But all reverted to normal once the 24-120 mm was replaced & the mirror cover prevented further bulging.

Lastly, the lid was bolted down & the box parked in a quiet corner of the clean room.

By now, having had 3 of its 4 mirrors extracted in the past few months, the corrector must be lamenting its poor performance & wondering what further indignities might lie ahead...

With M3 out the way, we got our first unobstructed view of M2 (looking up from below with a fish-eye lens in this shot).  From next week our attention will be on this mirror as we begin gearing up for the M2 null test!

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