The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer completes its System-Level Review

System-Level Review

MSE and CFHT welcomed an expert panel of astronomers and engineers to their offices in Waimea in January, as the Project underwent its System-Level Conceptual Design Review. The review was chaired by Michael Strauss (Princeton), and the panel consisted of Ken Chambers (Hawaii), Scott Roberts (TMT), Rob Sharp (ANU, remote participant), and Hermine Schnetler (STFC). The Panel was asked:

"to assess whether the science requirements will be met by the Level 1 requirements defined in the three “foundation” documents: OCD [Operations Concept Document], OAD [Observatory Architecture Document] and ORD [Observatory Requirements Document] as organized and presented. In addition, the review panel should appraise whether the conceptual design has a strong likelihood of success from a systems engineering standpoint. The system level work includes development of requirements (flow down and traceability), performance and technical budgets (derivations and allocations), interface definitions and verifications etc., and success is defined by meeting the stated science requirements."

The evaluation spanned all aspects of the science, operations and technical development of MSE. The three day review included many incisive comments from the Panel on the science and design development of MSE to date, as well as the systems engineering methodology. These will prove to be invaluable as MSE progresses into the next phase of the project.

The feedback from the Panel included several action items for which the Project is preparing responses. Prominent among these is the creation of a Design Reference Survey for MSE, that will be a major science development exercise over the next year, and on which there will be more news soon.

In the words of the Panel:

"the bottom line is that this project is in very good shape, and at an appropriate level of maturity for the end of the Conceptual Design phase. We have been very impressed by the level of sophistication that the MSE project team has brought to this project, and the tremendous amount of hard work that has been carried out thus far. This level of professionalism bodes well for the project as it enters the preliminary design phase."

We thank the Panel for their time and feedback, and for playing a critical role in MSE's ongoing development. The System-Level review finished off a busy year for the Project, that has seen a previous 10 different subsystem Conceptual Design Reviews. 2018 will see the Project wrap up the conceptual design phase and move into the preliminary design phase. Stay tuned!