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LIGO Ranks High In Latest National Science Foundation Review

LIGO Ranks High In Latest National Science Foundation Review

- Contributed by Phil Lindquist

The regular semi-annual review of LIGO was conducted by a review committee of experts on behalf of the National Science Foundation (NSF) on March 31-April 2, 1998 at the California Institute of Technology. The focus of this review was the project management systems including the cost and schedule status, projections to complete, and the adequacy of available contingency.

The Committee was specifically requested to review the cost, schedule, and management of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) including LIGO construction, the R&D in support of construction, and the initial operating phase of LIGO.

The review was quite successful. Summary comments provided by the Committee were generally positive and can be paraphrased as follows:

-- LIGO was commended for the management of the civil construction and the construction of the large vacuum system. The Hanford Beam Tube achieved a pre-baked vacuum of 2 x 10-7 Torr.

-- Procurement and evaluation of the detector system components are on the critical path... LIGO was advised to be particularly vigilant in managing these activities.

-- LIGO was advised that the integration of the detector systems is well planned, but the start of installation is critically dependent on the procurement and evaluation of the detector components as mentioned above.

-- The Committee indicated that the plan for commissioning the interferometer was well conceived.

-- Initial operations planning is at an early stage. The Committee reviewed LIGO plans for the transition from construction to operation in terms of personnel and indicated that the planning was thorough.

-- The Committee noted that there is little or no schedule contingency left for completion of the LIGO Construction Project. The Detector System has the largest remaining cost contingency. Among potential calls on contingency, labor cost resulting from schedule slippage is the largest component. LIGO management was advised to make every effort to avoid schedule slippage.

-- The Committee concurred that the LIGO Construction Project can be completed within the current budget.

-- The Committee concurred that the proposed operating budget is at an appropriate level to achieve the design sensitivity as scheduled.

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