From Basovizza to Geneva: the ESPRESSO Instrument Control Electronics is ready for the integration

The instrument control electronics of ESPRESSO, built at the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, passed the first integration phase at Merate (Astronomical Observatory of Brera) and is now ready for the European full integration with all the other ESPRESSO subsystems.


ESPRESSO, The Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations, that will be installed at Cerro Paranal (Chile) at the ESO (European Southern Observatory) - Very Large Telescope (VLT) site, is now passing through its integration phase in Geneva where the Preliminary Acceptance Europe will take place in a few months.

About 30 motors, 8 piezo controller, 90 sensors and 3 calibration lamps will be controlled by the instrument control electronics and software.

The instrument control electronics is based on Beckhoff Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), equipped with I/O analog and digital modules for sensors reading, motor drivers and serial interface modules.

The design, build and assembly of the electronics took place at the electronics laboratory of the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, from a team composed by Igor Coretti and Veronica Baldini.

All the components have been mounted inside four 1.2 m high and two 2 m high cabinets and tested in Trieste. Everything has been then transported to the Brera Astronomical Observatory where it has been installed and tested with the four instrument Front End Units (FEU).

After having tested the proper behavior of the instrumentation and the correct positioning of the 20 motors of the FEU the electronics passed the acceptance from the ESPRESSO System Engineer and have been sent to Geneva for the next integration phase with all the other subsystems.

Once every function and the correct interaction between all the different subsystems will be verified, the instrument will be accepted by ESO and will be ready for the final integration in Chile waiting to receive its first light.

A special thanks goes to all the colleagues who helped us with logistics during all the project phases.


ESPRESSO Instrument Control Electronics is ready for the integration - Gallery 


VIDEO - Example of handling with PLC Beckhoff of ... ESPRESSO

(also on YouTube)


Contact: Igor Coretti, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


ESPRESSO: Front-End Unit integration in Merate