The ALMA assembly, integration, and verification project: A retrospective analysis

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Proceedings titleProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ConferenceModeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI, 22 June 2014 through 24 June 2014, Montreal, QC
Article number91500B
SubjectAntennas; Astronomy; Life cycle; Personnel selection; Plant shutdowns; Project management; Risk perception; Systems engineering; Aperture synthesis; Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA); Hardware and software; Joint projects; Millimeter wavelength; Operational model; Retrospective analysis; Transition phase; Risk assessment
AbstractThe Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a joint project between astronomical organizations in Europe, North America, and East Asia, in collaboration with the Republic of Chile. ALMA consists of 54 twelve-meter antennas and 12 seven-meter antennas operating as an aperture synthesis array in the (sub)millimeter wavelength range. Assembly, Integration, and Verification (AIV) of the antennas was completed at the end of the year 2013, while the final optimization and complete expansion to validate all planned observing modes will continue. This paper compares the actually obtained results of the period 2008-2013 with the baselines that had been laid out in the early project-planning phase (2005-2007). First plans made for ALMA AIV had already established a two-phased project life-cycle: phase 1 for setting up necessary infrastructure and common facilities, and taking the first three antennas to the start of commissioning; and phase 2 focused on the steady state processing of the remaining units. Throughout the execution of the project this lifecycle was refined and two additional phases were added, namely a transition phase between phases 1 and 2, and a closing phase to address the project ramp-down. A sub-project called Accelerated Commissioning and Science Verification (ACSV) was carried out during the year 2009 in order to provide focus to the whole ALMA organization, and to accomplish the start-of-commissioning milestone. Early phases of CSV focused on validating the basic performance and calibration. Over time additional observing modes have been validated as capabilities expanded both in hardware and software. This retrospective analysis describes the originally presented project staffing plans and schedules, the underlying assumptions, identified risks and operational models, among others. For comparison actual data on staffing levels, the resultant schedule, additional risks identified and those that actually materialized, are presented. The observed similarities and differences are then analyzed and explained, and corresponding lessons learned are presented.
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AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; National Science Infrastructure
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272617
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Record identifier707a1202-daa9-4fe0-b88a-fa6912b44ba1
Record created2014-12-03
Record modified2016-05-09
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