Greenland Telescope Heading To Its Final Destination
Warehouse Distribution Services (WDS) celebrates a state-of-the-art telescope’s send off to the heart of the Arctic Circle.
The Greenland Telescope Project, a pioneering four-year scientific partnership between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics (ASIAA), will start the first leg of its long journey following the telescope’s complex, in-depth assembly, shipment and re-assembly – all executed at WDS in Norfolk, Virginia.
The barge push-off from the Port of Norfolk on June 28 to the Thule Air Base in Qaasuitsup, Greenland is a huge step forward towards the 45-foot telescope’s planned ascent to the Greenland ice sheet.
“We are proud to have been selected for this project and as it nears completion, we have been able to look back at the level of collaboration with a wide range of partners from Smithsonian project contractors, project engineers, and government officials with much pride,” said John Morrow, Vice President of WDS. “This was a very successful partnership and we look forward to handling subsequent projects with the Smithsonian and Harvard Astro-Physics Department.”
The Greenland Telescope is a cross-continent collaboration and will work in synchronization with two other global radio telescopes, located in Hawaii and Chile, in hopes of capturing images of one of the universe’s black holes, proving Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
“This could be the next ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ moment for our children’s generation,” Morrow said about the project’s significance.
Oversight of the Greenland Telescope Project called for superior management, organization, and the highest regard for safety. WDS’ industry experience and proven track record with large projects ensured its success, from receiving telescope components from around the world, some as wide as 18 feet and weighing 50,000 pounds (causing the city of Norfolk to shut down city streets at night with the assistance of the Norfolk Police Department) to crane and rigging services for pieces weighing 10 to 22 tons. The pre-shipment assembly and testing that took place at WDS’ Norfolk facility has ensured that components of the telescope are ready for operation in the extreme weather conditions of Greenland.
With testing, retrofitting and fine-tuning complete, the Norfolk team repackaged the telescope to get it ready for its voyage to Greenland. Once in Greenland, scientists and engineers will reassemble the telescope for testing and early scientific observations at the Air Base. Eventually, the telescope will be moved by oversized sleds 700 miles inland to its new home at the new Apex Station, five miles north of the National Science Foundation’s Summit Station at the peak of the Greenland ice sheet.
World Distribution Services (WDS) is a provider of creative domestic and global supply chain solutions, specializing in warehousing and logistics. In addition to the WDS corporate headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, WDS offers 11 strategic warehousing locations across the United States including most major East Coast, Gulf and West Coast port locations. The company also operates seven intermodal Class I rail facilities in the Midwest and Columbus, Ohio, that offer bulk transload services, specialized heavy and oversize transloading capabilities and private intermodal rail service.