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The journey of the last Japanese antenna to ALMA

10 May, 2013 / Read time: 1 minute

This 2011 video shows the delivery of the final Japanese antenna for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) built by the partners at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) in collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO). 

These antennas are designed to operate as a subset within ALMA, called the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) and later named the Morita Array, in honor of the designer of the ACA, the beloved professor and astronomer Koh-ichiro Morita, after his unfortunate passing. 

The antenna took nearly two months to reach its destination, departing from the assembly base in Japan on August 25, 2011. It was then shipped from Port Kobe to Puerto Mejillones, Chile, and was then moved in a caravan to the Operations Support Facility (OSF) on October 21. 

For their journey, the antennas were separated into 3 parts (cabin, base and reflector) and then assembled and carefully adjusted at the OSF before making the ascent to the Chajnantor Plateau and joining the other antennas already located at their final destination: the Array Operations Site (AOS) at 5,000 meters above sea level.

Credits: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)