The world is working together to explore the stars and galaxies.
HydX is part of the high-profile Vera C. Rubin Observatory project.
“It is important that we succeed the first time round; we only get one chance,” says HydX’s Patrik Broman.
The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, previously called LSST, is the world’s largest reflecting telescope, and will produce a unique picture of the universe, deeper and wider than what humanity has ever had the chance to see. The camera has 3,200 megapixels and will photograph the entire observable sky every few nights.
The telescope was built in Spain and shipped to Chile in autumn 2019, where it was erected on a mountain that is approximately 300 kilometres north of the capital city of Santiago.
“It’s like a massive camera that will rotate and photograph the sky all night. The mirror is around ten metres in diameter and is housed in a huge dome. The telescope can be adjusted laterally and depthwise. It will take a myriad of photos in infrared, which will then be superimposed to allow researchers to see any changes. The telescope allows researchers to observe where something is happening and then to zero in on that area,” says Broman.
The pandemic caused the project to come to a standstill for ten months in 2020, but during 2021 it has finally started up again. HydX is collaborating with SKF to deliver oil lubrication systems to the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, and in October, Mattias Olsson travelled to Chile and Cerro Pachón’s summit to work on the project for close to five weeks.
“We lived a two hour’s journey from the observatory, which is at the top of a mountain. Getting there took an hour along highways, followed by small mountain roads with a drop of several hundred metres,” Olsson recounts.
The building has now been erected, the telescope installed and HydX was there to start up the control system, cooling system and hydraulics together with representatives from SKF.
“SKF manufactured the oil bearings, we supplied the oil system and will ensure that the oil will maintain the correct viscosity, flow and pressure,” explains Olsson.
“The biggest challenge is to maintain the oil at the right temperature in this environment. We have overseen the installation of the system and the pumps, we have tested the systems and adjusted all the flows. The hydraulics are now ready, so that they can move forward with the installation of the telescope. Someone from HydX will possibly travel to Chile again in early 2022.”
HydX has worked on the project for more than ten years, and Patrik Broman, who is Sales Manager for aggregate systems at HydX, has more than 30 years of experience in working with different types of telescopes.
“The project in Chile is very exciting. It is a very complex system and it is important for us to get it right the first time. So far things have gone according to plan,” says Broman.
The goal is for the telescope to be completed in two years, before the end of 2023.