ALMA Front End Integration Centre (FEIC)
01 Nov 2010



Ready to Start Production Phase


Five Front Ends in the Clean Room, RAL Space


The ALMA European Front End Integration Centre (FEIC), located within RAL Space, recently completed the second stage of its Operational Readiness Review. This review focussed on the test equipment used to measure some of the key performance requirements of the Front Ends, such as the noise temperature and beam pattern.

ALMA Deputy Project Manager, Tetsuo Hasegawa, chaired the review with panel members from the North American FEIC (NRAO) and ESO as well as an observer from the third FEIC, located in Taiwan.

At the end of the two day review, the chairman was very pleased to declare that we not only passed, but that they were very impressed with the high standard of the EU FEIC test equipment. They were particularly impressed by the performance of the Beam Scanner and the test software which was developed within RAL Space to automate most of the testing and commented on the advances made in the characterisation and performance of the dry cold load.

He praised the EU FEIC staff for their excellent teamwork and hard-work in getting to this stage, and was particularly pleased with the way the team were implementing the product assurance (PA) requirements. The PA representative from NRAO also endorsed the chairman’s comments, adding that the feedback received from the EU FEIC through the non-conformance reporting process had been very welcome and had helped them identify design issues in the Front End components.

QuoteThe successful completion of this review is a major contribution towards meeting the objectives of the ALMA projectQuote

Tetsuo Hasegawa
ALMA Deputy Project Manager

Tetsuo concluded his assessment of the EU FEIC by saying that "The successful completion of this review is a major contribution towards meeting the objectives of the ALMA project". Nigel Morris, EU FEIC Project Manager said "The team has been working very hard towards this review, and to hear that we passed was an immense relief.  The comments from Tetsuo about the high standard of work really lifted the team and left us feeling elated".

Whilst preparing the test equipment for this review, work to complete the assembly of Front Ends has been progressing. To date we have delivered three Front Ends to the ALMA site in Chile, have four fully assembled Front Ends ready to start performance testing, and have sufficient parts to start assembling another three.

Once the few remaining action items coming out of this review have been addressed, the Front Ends will start to be delivered to ALMA at the rate of about one per month for the next two years. Our target is to deliver 26 Front Ends by the end of December 2012.

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries