The Thirty Meter Telescope project announced today that all of the scientific partners in the TMT have signed a master agreement.
The master agreement establishes a formal agreement among the international parties involved in the project. It defines the project goals, establishes a governance structure and defines the rights, obligations and benefits of the partners.
The telescope is collaboration among universities in the United States, with institutions in Canada, China, India and Japan, and with major funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Uniting these various parties under a master agreement stands as a significant accomplishment for TMT as a scientific endeavor with global reach, TMT official said Friday.
“The signing of this Master Agreement marks a major milestone in the official commitment to and formalization of this global collaboration, ensuring that the TMT project is on schedule and progressing smoothly,” said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT Collaborative Board, in a written statement. “We have been working towards this moment for a long time and this is a special day for astronomy’s next-generation observatory.”
The master agreement brings together the TMT partners for the purpose of developing, designing, financing, constructing, commissioning, operating and decommissioning a next-generation, thirty meter-class astronomical observatory.
“We are pleased with this vote of confidence from the scientific authorities,” said Edward Stone, Vice Chair of the TMT Board. “Their signing of this Master Agreement is a key endorsement of TMT’s scientific merits as well as the project’s overall implementation plan.”
Looking ahead, the next step will be for the financial authorities of the partners to similarly sign the document and finalize the funding plan.
“With the scientific authorities now all on board, we welcome and look forward to the critical support of the remaining financial authorities in advancing the TMT project,” said Yang.
Construction of TMT is planned to begin in April 2014, and TMT is scheduled to begin scientific operations in 2022 on Mauna Kea.
Signatories of the Master Agreement are: Donald E. Brooks, Chair of the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) Institutional Council; Jean-Lou Chameau, President of the California Institute of Technology; Masahiko Hayashi, Director General of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ); Dr. P. Sreekumar, Director of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics; Jun Yan, Director General of the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) and Mark Yudof, President of the University of California.
See Saturday’s Tribune-Herald for more on this story.