TMT & Larson Packaging Company designed and prototyped a crate for TMT mirror segments
TMT, in partnership with Larson Packaging Company, recently celebrated the successful design and completion of TMT’s Primary Mirror Assembly Shipping Container (PMASC). The shipping container will enclose and protect TMT’s primary mirror segments during transport and storage between their international destinations.

Each of the 574 manufactured TMT Primary Mirror segments (M1) (including 82 spare segments) will have its own dedicated shipping container to provide safe transport between TIO partners and the final destination at the construction site. TMT Segment Support Assemblies (SSA) and Polished Mirror Assemblies (PMA) will be manufactured in Japan, China, India and the US. Each TMT M1 container will take at least three long trips through its lifetime, totaling more than 1,700 separate journeys, including final transportation to the site.
“Congratulations to the entire container design team, who worked under a global lockdown and very difficult conditions,” said Ben Gallagher, TMT M1 System Lead Engineer. “The LPC team was very flexible and creative, providing the ground for a very good collaboration with TMT. Larson engineers showed critical insight and expert understanding to make this work, and they delivered a very-high quality product.”
Final test of TMT M1 shipping container at Larson Packaging Company in California, July 2020 - From right: TMT engineers Fred Kamphues and Ben Gallagher; Larson engineers and management Hector Monrroy, Mark Hoffman, Jason Short, Ray Horner and Gary Fanella; Jack Kiebach (BayAT) and Russel Wosk (Enidine) next to the TMT shipping container prototype - Image credit: TMT international Observatory
TMT Primary Mirror Assembly Shipping Containers (PMASC) - The wooden container is closed at all ends, with a finished size of approximately 2m x 2m x 1m. The design of the container allows the boxes to be placed in a most convenient way. The containers can be stacked three high to form a single unit and bolt to each other for stability during storage and any seismic activity at the site - Image credit: TMT International Observatory / LPC
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, the University of California (UC), the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Maunakea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

For more information about the TMT project, visit, or follow @TMTHawaii.
Sandra Dawson
TMT Manager, Hawaii Community Affairs
 111 Nowelo Street,
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone (808) 284-9922