MMT Instrument Repair Building

M3 provided complete A/E design and construction administration services for the Instrument Repair Building at the MMT Facility at F.L. Whipple Observatory, Mt. Hopkins, Arizona.

The IRB facility is approximately 1,200 sf. addition to the existing Summit Support Building adjacent to the MMT facility.  It is designed to house a new generation of sensitive and expensive large optical and infrared instruments the size of a small vehicle that is installed on the 6.5 meter Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT) and other telescopes at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory.  These instruments and their associated optics are removed, re-configured and re-installed six to eight times per year, typically during alternate lunations.

The operation requires handling and assembly space not available inside the MMT and FLWO facilities.  Building modifications were required at the MMT facility in order to remove the Instruments safely from the MMT and transport to the IRB.

The design and construction challenges included:

  • Site constraints
    • Maintaining required clearances to set the bell jar with large crane
    • Existing main underground power to the SSB
    • Constructing adjacent to a sloped single lane roadway
    • Limited site space for vehicles and material storage
  • Designing and constructing on a remote site
  • Maintaining full use and operations at the MMT Telescope facility
  • High winds
  • Seasonal constraints
  • Environmental constraints