Persis Drell Joins LAT as Project Goes
Full Steam Ahead
On June 21, Research Director Persis Drell
took the role of Deputy Project Manager for the Large Area Telescope
(LAT), the main instrument of the Gamma-ray Large Area Telescope, or
GLAST, due to go into orbit in 2007.
Persis Drell discusses the LAT Test Bed with Gregg Thayer (REG).
(Photo by Joni White)
Drell will help steer the LAT project as
it goes into full throttle, and the Lab gets ready for the arrival in
early September of some instrument components from Italy’s INFN, from
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and from the Naval Research
Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C.
“The GLAST/LAT project is an incredibly
exciting scientific opportunity for the field and for the Laboratory,”
Drell said. “It is at an important point in its development, as we
anticipate the delivery of flight hardware this summer and the beginning
of the integration and test phase of the project.”
Technicians will assemble each of the
LAT’s 16 tower modules from a silicon strip tracker (designed by UC
Santa Cruz and Japanese physicists and assembled by INFN) and a cesium
iodide calorimeter (provided by the NRL in collaboration with Swedish
and French physicists) (see TIP, June 18, 2004). The tower modules will
be installed in a four-by-four array inside a grid machined out of a
single block of aluminum. The LAT will be completed with on-board
electronics designed at SLAC and an Anti-Coincidence Detector provided
After several phases of building and
testing, in July 2005 the completed instrument will be shipped to the
NRL for flight certification, and later to Arizona, where Spectrum Astro
Inc. will assemble it into the GLAST spacecraft.
As Deputy Project Manager, Drell will
oversee three of the project’s subsystems—the Tracker (managed by Robert
Johnson), the Instrument Science Operations Center (Robert Cameron), and
the Science Analysis Software (Richard Dubois).
“We’re getting to the final steps of
building the real instrument,” says LAT Project Manager Lowell Klaisner,
“and getting every bolt right is particularly difficult with a space
project. It is great to have someone such as Persis who is so bright and
thorough—and so enthusiastic. Her excitement is contagious.”
Working at the GLAST headquarters in
Building 28 will be Drell’s primary day-to-day focus, but she will also
continue to participate in the strategic planning of research as SLAC’s
Research Director. Meanwhile, Steve Williams and Charlotte Chang (both
RD) will take care of the everyday operation of the Research Division.
“I know that I can count on the superb staff in the division to help
Steve, Charlotte and me as we rearrange our responsibilities,” Drell