White Sands, NM

Space Surveillance Telescope Lifting Project


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) has a 3.5 m dia. primary mirror with large, curved, focal surface array sensors. The device offers a wider view of deep space objects to support broad-area searches and to detect and track microsatellites, space debris, and other objects. To install the SST at White Sands Missile Range, the team needed to lift and lower individual components weighing up to 110,000 lbs into an existing enclosure building. SGH prepared the critical lift plans, and made recommendations for the crane selection and lifting procedures.

Based on the SST components’ weights and geometries and the properties of the building shutter opening, SGH:

  • Investigated crane options and determined the most effective installation procedure
  • Identified lifting radii, hook height, and boom lengths for a selection of crawler-mounted, wheel-mounted, and ringer cranes
  • Calculated the bearing pressures for each crane option and established compliance with allowable bearing pressures
  • Determined the maximum operating wind speeds for the cranes

Developed detailed installation plans for the cranes under consideration, specifying each of the steps, including:’

  • Lifting components off delivery trucks
  • Rotating the crane to face the enclosure structure
  • Crawling the crane into final position with the load suspended
  • Rotating components suspended from the crane to fit through the narrow shutter opening
  • Lowering components to their resting positions

Project Summary



Completion Date
Repair & Rehabilitation
Advanced Analysis
Science & Defense
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Specialized Capabilities
Temporary Construction | Science & Defense

Key team members

William Konicki
William Konicki
Senior Principal