Empire Industries Ltd. welcomes Canada's commitment to construction funding of $243.5 million for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) international partnership, announced yesterday evening by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the H. R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver.
The TMT will be the world's most powerful ground-based telescope, with 81 times more power than the current best telescope. The telescope was conceived and designed by Canadian astronomers and industry in a partnership between Canada, the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, Japan, China and India. TMT will examine the first stars to form in the universe, the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way and the atmospheres and other properties of planets within the habitable zones of other stars.
"Our participation in the Thirty Meter Telescope project will generate new capabilities and technologies in Canada which will help create and maintain high-quality jobs in communities across the country. It is also a real tribute to Canadian know-how that a British Columbia firm was selected to build the telescope's enclosure" stated Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Today's announcement ensures that two critical telescope elements, the enclosure and the adaptive optics instrument, will be built in Canada. The Coalition for Canadian Astronomy has projected 1,050 person-years plus an equal number of indirect jobs from Canada's in-kind contribution of the telescope enclosure and adaptive optics instrument. All work slated for Canada is in highly-skilled sectors, and previous investments in astronomy projects have a proven track record of delivering long-term economic spin-offs. The majority of the Canadian Government's financial support will be spent in Canada, including a precision steel enclosure by Dynamic Structures, based in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.
"All Canadians should be immensely proud of the fact that two critical elements of the TMT have been entrusted to Canadian industry for construction. Canadian Industry can compete against anyone in the world when given the opportunity, and we are extremely grateful for the financial commitment from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Industry Minister James Moore that allows us to build what Canadian industry designed," stated Guy Nelson, President and CEO of Empire Industries and Co-Chair (Industry) of the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy.
Empire Industries, through its wholly owned division, Dynamic Structures, has parlayed its unique expertise gained from building approximately half of the world's largest optical and radio-astronomical enclosures into being a world-leading designer and builder of media-based attractions for the entertainment industry. Dynamic Structures has been actively working on TMT since its inception over ten years ago. Dynamic Structures, working with Canadian astronomers, designed TMT's calotte enclosure. The TMT enclosure will be built in Canada, exported and installed in Hawaii. Dynamic Structures will be heavily involved in the TMT enclosure supply. The actual details of the enclosure contract have not yet been finalized. Empire Industries will be working with the Government of Canada and the TMT International Observatory to finalize the contractual details of the in-kind supply of the enclosure from Canada to the TMT partnership.