I have the pleasure and honour as the new Managing Director of the CTAO to send this message at the end of a busy and successful 2023. In my first year as CTAO Managing Direcftor, I have begun to get to know many of the people whose dedication and professionalism continue to make the development of the Observatory a success.

When I accepted the position, I knew that there would be a steep learning curve in understanding this ambitious project and all its many facets. I have learned a lot in a short time, but, through all the ups and downs, one thing has been steady and true: it is these people who will realize the vision of creating the world’s premier gamma-ray Observatory.

I would therefore like to thank the CTAO gGmbH staff, all the In-Kind Contribution teams and Collaborations, the members of the extended science collaboration, and those governing bodies that support us and ensure we can make progress. And a special thank you must be extended to Federico Ferrini, who prepared the CTAO for this transition and was my co-pilot throughout the year.

Together, we have made significant progress in 2023: The CTAO now stands as a top-ranked priority among new ground-based infrastructure projects in the ASTRONET Roadmap; the CTAO-North Site now has foundations in advance of hosting three new Large-Sized Telescopes; the Medium-Sized Telescope structure has successfully passed the critical design review; the tender to implement the electromechanical structures for 25 Small-Sized Telescopes was issued; and the integration of the ACADA software with the LST-1 has been accomplished, among other actions.

While it’s worth reflecting on our successes, it’s even more crucial to prepare for the future as the CTAO enters a new phase in 2024 with an increase in activities and progress. Thanks to the support of our funding organizations, we plan to double our staff, make key advances in infrastructure, prepare to accept the first telescopes, help define the science collaboration leading the Key Science Projects, and host the second CTAO Science Symposium and our first CTAO School to train future generations.

I am very excited about the next phase of our journey. We have set ambitious goals and outlined strategic priorities that are the path to our future. With your continued dedication, I am confident that we will reach new heights and make even greater progress.

So, for now, please celebrate the holidays and take a well-earned rest. There is much to come and much to do in the months and years ahead. I look forward to the day, in the not-so-distant future, when the CTAO will generate its first science through the efforts of our extended team!

Happy Holidays,
Stuart McMuldroch

Open the Card: Best Wishes and Happy New Year from the CTAO

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Season's Greetings from CTAO Managing Director, Stuart McMuldroch - CTAO