Radio telescope antenna

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The first of 25 North American antennas to be manufactured by General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies for the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) astronomical observatory was installed November 2009 at the ALMA Operations Site located high in the Chilean Andes. Traveling on a custom-built transporter from the ALMA Operations Support Facility at 9,500 feet above sea level, the 12-meter, 100-ton antenna made a 22-mile trek to the Array Operations Site at 16,500 feet in about five hours. Once the large antenna reached the operations site, it was installed on a concrete platform and connected to power, fiber optics and other services. The ALMA Observatory will enable astronomers to probe, with unprecedented sharpness, phenomena and regions that are obscured from the view of visible-light telescopes, as the number of commissioned telescopes at the operations plateau increases.