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Originally published in the August 2020 issue of the CTA Newsletter.

By: Federico Ferrini, CTAO Managing Director

COVID-19, the pandemic that in the last few months has so dramatically struck the world, has, naturally, affected the CTA project activities. CTAO is distributed over four countries (Chile, Germany, Italy and Spain), hence, I have instructed CTAO personnel to respect the directives and recommendations in force by the respective country and hosting institutions to maintain their health and well-being during this trying time. As a consequence, CTAO personnel have been working remotely since 24 February and will continue to do so until 15 September, when we hope conditions will be stable enough to return to our offices and to begin a new, safe standard for life and work.

Regardless of the challenging circumstances, I want to underline that, notwithstanding the unusual and sometimes difficult conditions under which the CTAO staff had to work and react to the “normal” complexity of the CTA project, the project activities have not been delayed, the major objectives of the period have been achieved and our attention and focus are maintained, confirming the dedication and passion of CTAO personnel.

During this period we have conducted several important meetings via teleconference: Council (x2), Administrative and Finance Committee (AFC), Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, ERIC Board of Governmental Representatives (x2) and Transition Working Group (x2), Cost Book external review panel (x5), ACADA Preliminary Design Review, Project Committee and Small-Sized Telescope Engineering Review. And while meeting in person to discuss important and complicated topics is always ideal, we have found these meetings to be focused and effective in continuing to advance and meet the goals of the project. For example, a major milestone for the project, the Cost Book, which provides investors a solid valuation for investments in CTA Observatory construction, has been approved unanimously by the CTAO Council.

In conclusion, and metaphorically speaking, the CTA project is now like a grand river that has finally amassed the flow of all its precious and independent tributaries, taking a united, determined course toward a common destination. Several obstacles may still be encountered, but the power of our course makes progress unavoidable. Further complex work and, of course, difficulties are still ahead, but the strength and focus of the telescope consortia, software teams and other in-kind contributor teams, supported by the competence and dedication of CTAO staff, allow me to confidently glimpse the final destination from afar.

Read more project updates in the August 2020 issue of the CTA Newsletter.

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Update from the Managing Director: Staying the Course - Navigating & Adapting in Turbulent Times - CTAO