S. Becerril, C. Cárdenas, P. Amado, M. Abril, I. Ferro, E. Mirabet, R. Morales, D. Pérez, A. Ramón, M. A. Sánchez-Carrasco, A. Quirrenbach, I. Ribas, A. Reiners, J. A. Caballero Hernández, W. Seifert. 2016. CARMENES-NIR channel spectrograph: how to achieve the full AIV at system level of a cryo-instrument in nine months. Conference on Observatory Operations – Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI, https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232482
CARMENES is the new high-resolution high-stability spectrograph built for the 3.5m telescope at the Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA, Almería, Spain) by a consortium formed by German and Spanish institutions. This instrument is composed by two separated spectrographs: VIS channel (550-1050 nm) and NIR channel (950- 1700 nm). The NIR-channel spectrograph’s responsible institution is the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, IAA-CSIC.The contouring conditions have led CARMENES-NIR to be a schedule-driven project with a extremely tight plan. The operation start-up was mandatory to be before the end of 2015. This plays in contradiction to the very complex, calm-requiring tasks and development phases faced during the AIV, which has been fully designed and implemented at IAA through a very ambitious, zero-contingency plan. As a large cryogenic instrument, this plan includes necessarily a certain number cryo-vacuum cycles, this factor being the most important for the overall AIV duration. Indeed, each cryo-vacuum cycle of the NIR channel runs during 3 weeks. This plan has therefore been driven to minimize the amount of cryo-vacuum cycles.Such huge effort has led the AIV at system level at IAA lab to be executed in 9 months from start to end -an astonishingly short duration for a large cryogenic, complex instrument like CARMENES NIR- which has been fully compliant with the final deadline of the installation of the NIR channel at CAHA 3.5m telescope. The detailed description of this planning, as well as the way how it was actually performed, is the main aim of the present paper.