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Steel Shots: Steel Encounter
Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 16, 2012 at 9:13 AM.


The world’s largest, land-based movable structure, West Virginia’s Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, is made up of more than 13,000 steel members and joints. Photo: Courtesy of Modjeski and Masters


Bridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters announced last week that it has been selected by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) for the fifth consecutive structural inspection of West Virginia’s Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope. Modjeski and Masters will audit the 17-million-lb movable radio telescope as part of an ongoing effort to prolong the structure’s life span through periodic assessments and programmed maintenance.


Modjeski and Masters will conduct a comprehensive inspection of many of the structure’s more than 13,000 steel members and joints. The firm will leverage its Technical and Rope Access (TARA) program, which is a collection of techniques and methods of access used by highly trained engineers to safely gain access to remote points on the structure. (Some can be located as far as 480 ft above the ground.)


“Modjeski and Masters works with a level of professionalism, thoroughness, reliability and competence rarely seen these days,” said Harry Morton, technical support supervisor at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. “We cannot inspect the entire structure ourselves, but can rest assured that the telescope is sound because of the trustworthiness of the Modjeski and Masters team.”


Dedicated in 2000, the Green Bank Telescope is the most technically advanced single-dish radio telescope in the world. The 110-meter by 100-meter dish boasts more than two acres of area for collecting faint radio waves from the universe.


For more information about the Green Bank Telescope, visit

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