A 10.4 meters telescope, began with the leadership of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), its preliminary observations in 2007, using 12 segments of its primary mirror, made of Zerodur glass-ceramic by the German company Schott AG.
Scientific production of the telescope started in March of 2009, once the telescope optics and its control system was sufficiently well developed, and the first science instrument, OSIRIS, had been installed. The number of segments was increased to a total of 36 hexagonal segments fully controlled by an active optics control system, working together as a reflective unit.
The GTC Project is a partnership formed by several institutions from Spain and Mexico, the University of Florida, Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica de México (INAOE) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).
The ultimate aim of the GTC is to facilitate world-class science observations. Being one of the largest telescope in the world and thanks to its location at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, the telescope will allow the study of key questions in astrophysics such as the nature of black holes, the formation history of stars and galaxies in the early universe, the physics of distant planets around other stars, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy in the universe.