From ngCFHT to MSE: In May 2014, the MSE Project Office was formed, co-located in Waimea at the headquarters of the CFHT. Ultimately charged with leading the Design Phase for MSE, for completion by the end of 2017, the Project Office was initially tasked in 2014 with establishing the basic infrastructure for the project and laying the foundations for work ahead.
Science Team: A new science team was formed in 2014 (and continues to accept new members) that is leading the scientific development of MSE. It currently consists of 80 members from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Hawaii, Italy, India, Japan, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and the USA. The Science Executive was established, to lead and coordinate the science team activities, and consists of representatives (contact scientists) from the major prospective partners, as well as the leads of the major science working groups within the science team.
Strategic Planning: MSE has been working to secure prominence within national strategic planning exercises:
- In Australia , MSE is working to engage the community as part of their Decadal Planning exercise, that is expected to report mid-2015
- In Canada , MSE is engaged in the Mid-Term Review (MTR) process of the Canadian Long Range Plan (10 year planning exercise). The MTR is expected to report late in 2015
- In France, participating in the MSE design phase is now ranked as "Priority 0" (top priority) in the new 5 year "Prospective"
Expanding the Partnership: MSE is now a joint Canada-China-France-Hawaii-India project . China has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CFHT that includes significant contributions to the MSE project; India, through the Indian Institute for Astrophysics (IIA) in Bangalore, sent an expression of interest to CFHT in joining the development team for the project, and the nature of their involvement in MSE will be defined in early 2015. At this stage, the MSE partnership is defined as those communities that are contributing financially, or through in-kind effort, to the technical design work being led by the MSE Project Office. Partnership formation is a key and ongoing endeavor throughout the Design Phase. MSE has established an Advisory Group that is made up of senior representatives from the partner communities to provide oversight and strategic advice to the MSE Project Office.
Securing the Future: The CFHT Board approved during their December 2014 meeting the requested 2015 MSE Project Office budget, enabling further hiring, contracted effort, etc.. Note that the Design Phase is funded through this budget from CFHT plus contributed effort (or equivalent) from the MSE partnership.
Expansion of the Project Office: With the significant increase in budget and contributed effort, the Project Office will be expanding its staffing and activities significantly during 2015. Community and partnership engagement remain priorities, and 2015 will see a significant increase in the technical design effort.
Engineering workshops: a series of engineering workshops are being planned for 2015, with the first to take place in Nanjing, China, April 1 - 3. The workshops allow for face-to-face discussions and interactions tackling the design and engineering aspects of the project, between the globally distributed engineering teams
Science inputs: Within the next week, the science team will be submitting the first of a series of major inputs for the Project Office, namely the reports of the three science working groups, and the identification of Science Reference Observations (SROs) for MSE. The SROs are unique, compelling, high-impact science programs that MSE will be able to undertake, and for which MSE will be specifically designed. That is, the SROs will be the primary origin of the Science Requirements for MSE. In 2015, expect to see the first draft of the Science Requirements Document for MSE as well as the Detailed Science Case.
Science Team Meeting: The First Annual meeting of the science team for MSE will take place on the Big Island of Hawai'i, Wednesday 24 June - Friday 26 June 2015. This three day meeting will be the first face-to-face meeting of the MSE science team at a defining stage in the project. We intend for subsequent meetings to rotate around the partnership, but this first meeting will take place, appropriately, on the island that will ultimately play host to this revolutionary facility. Attendance will be limited to members of the MSE collaboration, and invited guests. Presentation, break-out, and discussion sessions are planned, and a detailed announcement will be circulated soon. Reserve the dates!
Foundational documents: Central to the work planned for 2015 is the publication of several key documents, including the Science Requirements Document, the Architectural Design Document, and the System Technical Requirements Document. Following the release of these documents, a major expansion of engineering effort will see work focus on the design of level 1 subsystems and interfaces (including items such as the Instrument (fibre pickoff through to science detectors), Observatory Control Systems, Observing Preparation and Data Reduction, Corrector and ADC optics, M1 Optics, Segment Support and Alignment, Telescope Mount, Enclosure, Piers, etc.)
For more information on MSE and to stay informed of the latest progress, please check-out the MSE website. For specific questions on the science, design and partnership, please contact the Project Manager, Rick Murowinski (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or the Project Scientist, Alan McConnachie (email@example.com).