This weekend successful tests of injection of a beam from the SPS into the LHC were performed. The beam only traveled through a few of the sectors before being dumped, since all sectors of the machine are not yet ready for beam commissioning.
A week or so ago the decision was made to start beam commissioning with the magnets only fully commissioned to 2kA. This means that the machine will be limited to operation at 1.1 TeV/beam this year. The current schedule has commissioning to 2kA finishing November 16, attempts to circulate 450 GeV beams starting November 23. On December 7, the beam energy would start to ramp up to 1.1 TeV. 1.1 TeV/beam collisions would start Dec. 14, with shutdown for Christmas/New Year’s starting Dec. 16. This means that 2009 will not see physics collisions, but will perhaps see collisions at energies marginally higher than that of the Tevatron.
By the end of the year, 2 sectors will be commissioned to 6kA, the magnet current needed to run the machine for physics at 3.5 TeV/beam. The rest of the sectors will be commissioned to 6kA and the energy ramped up to 3.5 TeV/beam starting after the shutdown ends in January.
Update: Some more from the latest schedule. January 7 will be the start of recommissioning after the shutdown, and current plan is to have the machine ready for physics collisions at 3.5 TeV/beam by February 8.
Update: The date to begin beam commissioning again by circulating a beam in the LHC is now set for Friday November 20.
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