1m Optical Telescope shipped, France to South Africa- 7 August 2008

The 1m optical telescope, donated by Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, has left the harbour at onboard MSC XIAN. It voyage will last about 30 days, until it reaches Durban Harbour around 7 September 2008. Mediterranean Shipping Company (http://www.mscgva.ch) handles the shipment of the 2 crates in which the mount and tube assemblies are housed. These crates were specially built for the telescope to be strong enough as well as to be air- and watertight to avoid corrosion.
The telescope is packed in container number TRLU3635213 and the progress can be monitored at http://www.mscgva.ch/tracking/tracking_login.html
After arrival at Durban, it must first be cleared by Customs. Thereafter, it will be transported to the Donkerhoek Site of the Council for Geosciences (http://www.geoscience.org.za) just East of Pretoria, where it will be refurbished. After refurbishment of the telescope as well as design and testing of other components, everything will be relocated to Matjiesfontein, where it will be assembled into the first Lunar Laser Ranger in the Southern Hemisphere. There are currently only 2 other stations worldwide that can routinely range to the moon.
The Lunar Laser Ranger will be one of the main instruments that will form part of the proposed new Space Geodetic Observatory, located at Matjiesfontein. The proposed name for this Observatory is the International Institute for Space Geodesy and Earth Observation (IISGEO), and this observatory will gather data on various parameters describing the Earth and its environment.
The telescope mount and tube in France, before being packed for shipping. Between the tube and mount is Dr. Ludwig Combrinck, Associate Director: Space Geodesy, HartRAO.