After 9 months of delicate tuning and intense testing, SPIRou successfully completed a long series of drastic validation experiments demonstrating that it meets the expected performances. As usual in such circumstances, a panel of scientists and engineers was gathered to confirm that the results of the validation tests are compliant with expectations.
During the review, the SPIRou team summarized for the panel all tests that had been carried out, outlining in each case how results match design predictions. They also presented a detailed description of what the plan is for the forthcoming phases, which includes shipping the instrument to Hawaii, installing it in its new home atop the dormant Maunakea volcano, repeating all validation tests to verify that the instrument did not suffer from its trip to Hawaii, and finally carrying out even more technical tests on the sky before being allowed to start its fascinating science programmes aimed at exploring nearby new worlds and investigating their habitability.
The review was held on 2017 Nov 21 and 22 at IRAP / OMP and included experts from both CNRS (Pierre Kern and Guy Perrin from INSU, Magali Deleuil from LAM and Mike Toplis from IRAP / OMP) and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) in Hawaii where SPIRou will be installed (Andy Sheinis, Claire Moutou, Greg Barrick and Doug Simons). Following all presentations by the team and a wrap up discussion of the panel members, SPIRou was granted green light for starting out the next phase of its exciting adventures. To fit within everybody’s busy schedule, some of the CFHT personnel were present via videoconference and had to stay up all night during the presentation and discussion sessions. The SPIRou team warmly thanks the whole panel for its time and precious advice on how to install and exploit SPIRou at its best.