Minister Kubayi-Ngubane applauds SKA team for completion of key infrastructure designs
South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, congratulates the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) team of engineers for the successful completion of all essential infrastructure designs required for the first phase of the project to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope.
The SKA, a collection of telescopes spread over long distances that will combine to unlock the universe’s mysteries, will be constructed in South Africa and Australia, with later expansion planned for both countries as well as other African countries. The international collaboration to build the SKA is being led by the SKA Organisation (SKAO) headquartered in Manchester, United Kingdom.
For the last five years, two engineering consortia have been hard at work at their sites in Murchison, Western Australia and the Northern Cape, South Africa respectively, designing all the essential infrastructure required for construction of this complex global project to get under way. This includes access roads, power, water and sanitation, buildings, antenna foundations, and the communication, security and site monitoring equipment required to support the SKA telescope.
The South African consortium, Infrastructure South Africa (INSA), was led by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), which designed, built and operates the 64-dish SKA precursor telescope, the MeerKAT.
In June and July 2018, after nearly five years of collaboration both within and between the two consortia, both teams had successful critical design reviews, and subsequently made final refinements to their designs. In order to pass the critical design review, the proposed designs had to demonstrate compliance with SKA “Level 1” requirements.