Design Solutions for Ground-Based Astronomy Structures and Mechanisms


In recent years, IDOM has been actively participating in the design of some of the most significant ground-based astronomy structures in the world. Design work has included participation on all the giant telescopes ranging from 20 to 40m in diameters such as: European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

In addition, IDOM has completed design for other important telescope structures such as the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), the Mauna kea Spectroscopic Explorer Telescope (MSE), and instruments for the Gran Telescope Canarias (GTC). Each of these instruments are unique and complex mechanisms, requiring advanced engineering and design practices as well as solutions for a host of logistical issues for assembly in remote and space constricted locations. The next generation of the giant telescopes require innovative solutions to provide adequate load sharing, or to respond to structure-mechanism-control interaction issues, among other challenges.  

This presentation will focus on:

  • A summary of IDOM’s experience in the astronomy sector
  • A description of unique design requirements and logistical challenges for astronomy structures and mechanisms
  • An overview to several design approaches for main telescope mount structures, enclosures and instrumentation


Tom Lorentz,PE, is the President of IDOM, Inc. and responsible for the U.S. operations of the IDOM group headquartered in Bilbao, Spain. IDOM is a privately held, multi-discipline engineering company with more than 2800 professionals and 40 offices around the world.  Tom is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a BCE and MS in structural engineering. He is also an alumnus of the University’s Carlson School of Management and the Minnesota Management Institute. Mr. Lorentz’s professional career has been focused on the design and evaluation of special structures:  welded plate and shell structures, as well as heavy industrial structures in the refining, chemical, paper, heavy manufacturing and mining sectors.

Register here

Presented and hosted by IDOM.
Number of PDHs: 
Type of Event: 
Event Location: 
330 Second Avenue South, Suite 600
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Start Time: 
3:00 p.m.
End Time: 
4:30 p.m.
Time Zone: 
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