Sean Jones is a senior in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and a member of the Native Hawaiian Science Engineering Mentorship Program (NHSEMP). Sean received a 2010 Malolo Award for academic achievement and made the Dean’s List for the Spring 2011 semester. While attending college, Sean works part-time as a lifeguard and is certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving, first aid, and CPR. He is also a four-year regional champion playing inline hockey.

Institution when accepted:  University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Akamai Project:  Platform Design for a Next Generation Adaptive Optics Laser Infrastructure on the Keck II Telescope

Project Site:  W.M. Keck Observatory

Mentors: Shawn Callahan, Jason Chin & Bill Randolph

Project Abstract:

The W.M. Keck Observatory, a pair of 10-meter telescopes atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, is developing a Next Generation Adaptive Optics (NGAO) System. NGAO instruments, such as lasers, provide for sharper images and the ability to observe fainter objects. The goal of this project is to design a sub-platform under the Right Nasmyth deck of the Keck II telescope to support components for NGAO. These include three laser electronics cabinets and a dedicated heat exchanger to cool the electronics. The platform location, size, shape, and instrument placement must accommodate numerous design constraints. For instance, the platform must support the weight of the instruments, all instruments must be accessible by at least one meter of clearance for maintenance, and the laser enclosures must be less than 6 meters away from the telescope’s cable-wrap. Furthermore, the sub-platform and instruments must be able to withstand the seismic activity of Mauna Kea, and they must adhere to all OSHA requirements and International Building Codes. Multiple design iterations were modeled using 3-D computer -aided design software, and a final optimal design was selected. A support frame and its  connections to the telescope frame will be designed, followed by safety railings and cable trays. The design will be analyzed for deflections and structural integrity using finite element analysis software. Finally, a detailed plan for installing the instruments on the sub-platform will be devised. This platform design will support the Keck Observatory in the development of NGAO, maintaining Keck as a leader in astronomical research and discoveries.