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0.9-m Telescope Specifications Operations
and Cost Estimates

NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation

[ Estimated Operating Costs ] [ Description of 0.9-m Telescope ] [ Request for Proposal ]

The following information is intended to inform an organization interested in acquiring the 0.9-m telescope what they may expect as a tenant observatory on Kitt Peak, as well as to present an estimate of operations costs and an overview of the telescope specifications.


  1. This list of telescope specifications, assumptions/declarations, and cost estimates is a best effort and may not be all-inclusive.
  2. The telescope would be operated on Kitt Peak.
  3. The organization operating the telescope would be considered a Kitt Peak tenant. Tenant status requires that a lease for the telescope site be negotiated between the organization and the NSF. In addition, the organization and AURA must sign an agreement covering responsibilities of the tenant and basic services provided by Kitt Peak to the tenant.

  4. The organization would be required to pay an annual assessment for basic services, called the joint-use fee. This fee is required of all tenant observatories and is adjusted annually according to prior year KPNO expenditures. The basic services cost for FY2000 is $4.43/square foot. Basic services are beneficial to all users of the site and include, but are not limited to, snow removal, as well as limited road maintenance, security, emergency first aid, fire prevention and fighting, routine sewage system maintenance, rubbish removal, and servicing of high-voltage power lines and poles, excluding substation equipment. At additional cost, the organization can choose to participate in the shuttle service transportation pool. The shuttle transportation cost is $4.13/square foot. This service would allow the organization's observers to ride in, but not drive, the shuttle vehicles. Basic services cost is based on a scientific use, square footage footprint of the facility but starts with a minimum base of 2,500 square feet. The transportation cost is based on the scientific use, square footage footprint of the facility only.
  5. The organization would be responsible for operating and maintaining the building/dome and telescope, as well as its own instruments, data acquisition systems and software. The figures shown below are rough estimates of what it is likely to cost to operate and maintain the telescope, control systems, and building/dome once steady-state operations are achieved. Initial start-up labor hours would of course be significantly higher. KPNO resources will only be available for facilities or telescope support, as approved by the KPNO Director.
  6. During FY2000, if any labor were provided by KPNO, (excluding those services covered by the joint-use fee), the organization would be direct-charged for actual hours worked at the hourly rate, plus an additional 51% for benefits, and 67.5% or 47.0% for overhead (depending on the source of labor) on the combined total. Any overtime pay is in addition to that figure. There is an overhead charge of 9.4% on non-payroll items. These rates, as well as the joint-use fee rates, have been approved by the NSF and are subject to change on an annual basis. All payroll and non-payroll charges are expected to inflate in the range of 3-5% annually.
  7. All non-payroll items such as water, electric, cryogenics, data tapes, long distance telephone charges, copier use, supplies, telecommunications charges, etc. would be billed monthly to the organization. General and administrative (G&A) charges of 9.4% would be applied on everything except meals/lodging and the joint-use fee.
  8. A monthly billing statement would be provided to the organization, with supporting documentation, explaining the charges. All billings would be payable within thirty days after receipt of the statement from NOAO.
  9. Telephone charges for voice/data equipment and service (including Internet access) are based upon measured use and are billed annually. An initial buy-in to the Kitt Peak telephone consortium would be required at a cost of $12,564. Any additional costs for telecommunications upgrades would be shared on an approximately 1/17th share basis. This fee is not refundable at the conclusion of operations. Each tenant is responsible for providing and maintaining its own telecommunications and data equipment needed to interface with the consortium-provided, fiber-optic network. If the organization prefers not to join the telecommunications consortium, communications service can be purchased directly from the telephone service provider TOUA. Should sufficient cable pairs be available, the organization may, with prior approval, connect through the consortium cable plant to the demarcation point. If a shortage in cable pairs exists, the organization would be required to provide underground wiring to the demarcation point.
  10. KPNO could aluminize the telescope mirrors on a reservation-required, time-available basis, for a current quote price of $5,000. You are encouraged to contact for details of the contract. KPNO staff would provide the mirror handling fixtures and on a fully cost reimbursable basis, provide one-time training of the tenant observatory support staff in the safe removal/replacement and collimation of the telescope mirrors. Any subsequent mirror coatings would require the tenant observatory to deliver the optics to the 0.9-m telescope loading dock. KPNO would be responsible for transporting the mirrors to the aluminizing chamber and returning them to the dock. The organization would then be responsible for installation and collimation of the mirrors. In addition, under the guidance of KPNO staff, the organization would be responsible for stripping and cleaning the mirrors prior to aluminizing.
  11. Any meals and or lodging provided to the organizationís staff would be charged at the going rates, which are currently $55/night.
  12. Tenants are allowed to draw LN2 and GN2 from a common storage facility. Costs, including all losses, are based upon shared usage. Delivery of these expendables to the dome can be arranged, but labor to do so is at additional cost to the tenant.
  13. Ownership of the telescope remains with the NSF. The period of operation will be in three-year terms, renewable by mutual consent. Accordingly, the organization is required to provide adequate property and general liability insurance for the approved period of operation. At the conclusion of operations, the organization would return the telescope to the NSF in, at a minimum, the equivalent operational condition to that in which it was received.
  14. It is expected that any proposed use of this telescope will be consistent with the research and education mission of NOAO. Also, NOAO may request that the successful proposer continue interactions with NOAO scientific and educational staff to optimize complementary use of this telescope and other NOAO facilities.

[ NOAO ] [ CTIO ] [ KPNO ] [ USGP ]

National Optical Astronomy Observatories, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360
Posted: 05Apr2000
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