A Star is Born: Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) - Customer Success Story

VxWorks Powers One of the World’s Most Powerful Telescopes

To provide scientists with fresh answers to age-old questions about space, a collaboration of scientific and academic organizations launched the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) project in 1996. The project aims to develop the largest telescope in the world—one that will enable scientists to view the furthest and palest cosmic bodies in the universe. The telescope, located on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, is expected to be fully operative by mid-2008.

The GTC has a primary mirror, or lens, that is approximately 34 feet in diameter. The telescope’s total measurements are approximately 89 feet high by 43 feet wide. In comparison, the world-famous Hubble Space Telescope’s primary lens is approximately 8 feet in diameter.

The telescope’s computerized onboard system is extremely sophisticated. The GTC is controlled by a high-capacity, high-performance IT architecture called the GTC Control System (GCS). A set of subsystems, physically distributed throughout the GTC, controls functions and compensates for the adverse effects of variables such as wind, temperature, hygrometry, distortion of parts, and vibration. A network of interconnected equipment, such as computers and sensors, supervises these subsystems and provides a homogenous user interface.

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