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The MSE partnership in 2018 consists of Canada, France, Hawaii, Australia, China and India. Spain also played a key design role in earlier phases of the project.

Numerous work packages and contracts are available to MSE partners. MSE uses advanced systems, opto-mechanical, mechanical and software engineering to deliver a state-of-the-art scientific research facility. The work, taken together, is the design and manufacture of an entire observatory system including environmental, safety, building, enclosure, telescope, instrument and data subsystems.

MSE has successfully completed the conceptual design and is actively establishing funding for the preliminary design phase, scheduled for 2019/20. MSE is managed as a costcapped project with regular cost and scope reviews built into its schedule.

Following the end of preliminary design, the project will transition to the construction phase, including final design and fabrication work for each of the subsystems, followed by the assembly, integration, testing and commissioning on Maunakea.

Two major milestones must first be achieved prior to the construction phase. First, land authorization for long-term continuation of astronomy on Maunakea, under which all Maunakea telescopes operate, must be renewed – a process that is underway now. Second, the MSE partnership must agree to fund and initiate the construction phase.

The current schedule anticipates achieving both of these milestones by mid-2021, leading to full science operations commencing in August 2026.