Italian manufacturer Fassi had two of its hydraulic loader cranes pushed to the limits as they carried out work installing the first Chinese telescope in Antarctica.
Working under extreme weather conditions, the F110AC.0.22 Active and F155AC.0.22 Active were used to place the first AST3-1 telescope, which will form part of the Chinese Giant Solar Telescope (CGST).
The cranes worked to place the robotic 500 mm-long telescope called AST3-1, one of three planned for the Plateau Observatory or Plato-A, at Dome Argus, the highest point on the Antarctic Plateau.
The cranes were supplied by William Adams Pty Ltd, Caterpillar dealer for the Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania, a company specializing in supplying tractors and machinery for worksites in polar conditions. William Adams acquired the Fassi cranes from 600 Cranes Australasia Pty Ltd, the Fassi dealer for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
The combination of three telescopes will allow astronomers to hunt for planets about the size of Earth around other stars, find supernovae useful for cosmological studies and other future discoveries in astrophysics.
The project is a joint effort between the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Polar Research Institute of China, and the Australian University of New South Wales.