LIGO Laboratory Statement on Long Term Future Observing Plans

Since 2015, the LIGO Hanford and Livingston Observatories have successfully carried out a series of observing runs with the Advanced LIGO interferometers in partnership with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the European Gravitational Observatory and the Virgo Collaboration. At present, the Hanford and Livingston interferometers are undergoing a series of upgrades to improve their sensitivity in preparation for the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA O4 run currently expected to begin in December 2022. Following the O4 run, a further series of upgrades have been planned, followed by a longer duration O5 observing period expected to last until sometime in 2028.

Beyond 2028, the LIGO Laboratory is firmly committed to continued observations of the gravitational-wave sky. Plans are currently under development by LIGO to chart a path for interferometer upgrades and observing periods beyond O5 and continuing into the next decade. These plans will be developed and refined in 2022 and 2023 and may further evolve in response to inputs from the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA gravitational-wave community and external conditions.  They are also contingent upon availability of LIGO Operations funding.

For queries regarding this LIGO Laboratory strategic plan update, please contact Dave Reitze (Executive Director) and Albert Lazzarini (Deputy Director).