Chapter 4

Chapter 4, The Point Design

Section 4.10: Cost Estimate for Point Design

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The New Initiatives Office (NIO) has prepared an initial cost estimate for design and construction of a GSMT in the form represented by the point design. As in other point design activities, this is a learning exercise that helps illuminate a number of issues, even though we make no claim that this is the design likely to be built. The purposes of the cost estimate include:

In developing the cost estimate, NIO has worked in collaboration with industry, other astronomy organizations, and other ELT conceptual design groups.

4.10.1 Telescope Capital Cost

Table 1 summarizes the capital cost of the GSMT point design, itemized by major subsystem, in year-2002 U.S. dollars.

Component or Subsystem                

Cost Estimate
   (2002 U.S. Dollars)

   Percentage of
Capital Cost

Primary Mirror System

95,126,000

17.1%

Adaptive Secondary Mirror System

15,360,000

2.8%

Other Optics

5,299,000

1.0%

Telescope Structure

34,654,000

6.2%

Site

5,000,000

0.9%

Enclosure

50,000,000

9.0%

Support Facility and Equipment on Site      

3,419,000

0.6%

Base Facility

4,000,000

0.7%

Overall Control System

15,000,000

2.7%

Co-alignment, co-phasing system

10,000,000

1.8%

Adaptive Optics

64,858,000

11.7%

Program Office & Engineering Cost

124,436,000

22.4%

Subtotal

427,152,000

Contingency on above @ 30%

128,146,000

23.1%

Telescope - Capital Cost

555,298,000

Table 1.  Initial cost estimate for the GSMT point design, not including instrumentation.

4.10.2 Instrumentation

Cost estimates have also been prepared for the instruments concepts.  Table 2 summarizes the estimated costs of these instruments.

Instrument

Cost Estimate (U.S. Dollars)
MOMFOS

40,973,000

NIRDIF

33,402,000

NIrES

6,942,000

MIHDAS

15,123,000

MCAO Near-IR Imager     

40,000,000

MEIFU

27,960,000

AO Coronagraph

16,558,000

 
Table 2. Initial cost estimates for conceptual instruments for GSMT point design.

4.10.3 Operations Costs

Historical costs for observatory operations fall within a relatively narrow range when compared to the capital cost of the observatory.  Over a wide range of facilities, and over a period of many decades, operational costs have fallen in the range of 3% to 6% of capital costs, in constant dollars, not including the cost of equipment upgrades such as new instruments.  Costs falling at the lower end of this range typically do not include the cost of scientific staff, libraries, etc., while costs at the higher end tend to include such scientific costs.  Depending on the number of instruments included in the facility and the operational model, GSMT operations costs are predicted to fall in the range of $20 to $40 million &year-2002) U.S. dollars per year.

In addition, the operations budget must provide for equipment upgrades including new scientific instruments and improved adaptive optics systems.  Most large observatories budget 2% to 5% of the observatory capital cost per year for instrument upgrades.

 


November 2002