ALMA Observatory has three main locations: Operations Support Facility (OSF), Array Operations Site (AOS) and Santiago Central Offices (SCO).
The OSF is and will continue to be, in many aspects, the centre of activities of the ALMA project. Focus of the activities will change as ALMA achieves several and quite different objectives of the entire project. Presently it is the area where all ALMA Site contractors and their staff are accommodated. Special camps have been erected and by now can accommodate the maximum required capacity of 500 workers.
The OSF, of course, does not only serve as the base camp for contractors. It will become the focal point of all antenna Assembly-Integration-Verification (AIV) activities. Antenna assembly is done at the OSF site at three separate areas, one each for the antennas provided by North America (VERTEX), Japan (MELCO), and Europe (AEM Consortium). AIV activities will be carried out at the OSF, after preliminary acceptance of the antennas, and prior to moving them to the AOS.
Ultimately, the OSF and its Technical Facilities will become the centre of all scientific activities related to the daily operation of the Joint ALMA Observatory. The OSF will be the central location for running the observatory and taking care of all maintenance and operations aspects. During the operations phase of the observatory it will be the workplace of the astronomers and of the teams responsible for maintaining proper functioning of all the telescopes. The quality of all ALMA data will be assessed at the OSF.
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The construction of the AOS Technical Building started in October 2005 and the outer shell was completed by mid 2006. Inside construction work was completed in summer 2007. Human operations at the AOS will be limited to an absolute minimum, due to the high altitude. The AOS Technical Building will house the receiving end of the Back End and the Correlator . Digitized signals received from the radio telescopes are processed here and further transmitted to the data storage facilities located at the OSF.
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The brand new ALMA SCO, located in Vitacura district in Santiago of Chile, houses the Director's Office and its associated functional units, as well as astronomers, technicians and administrative staff. The SCO will eventually host the ALMA archive.
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