In February this year, the first fully assembled SKA dish was unveiled at a ceremony in China by the vice president of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology in the presence of representatives from countries involved and the SKA Organisation.
The dish is one of the two final prototypes to be tested ahead of an early array and as we edge closer to the conclusion of a 3-year effort by the SKA countries: Australia, Canada, France, Italy, South Africa, China, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden; more efforts have been made.
This April, the team concluded the first of nine-major element critical design reviews for the SKA in Manchester, United Kingdom. The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of India (NCRA)—the lead institution for the multi-country effort to design the nervous system of the nervous system of the SKA telescope—presented their efforts and a critical review of the proposed Telescope Manager component was done by the SKA team.
Thanks to everyone’s hard-work, we’ve concluded the Critical Design Review of the @SKA_telescope’s Telescope Manager, and the panel is happy with what they saw! Lot’s of work still to do, but way to go!#TMCDR
— 𝙳𝚛. 𝙹𝚞𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚎 𝚂𝚊𝚗𝚝𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚛-𝚅𝚎𝚕𝚊 (@juandesant) April 20, 2018
At the recent launch of the #SharedSky Australia and South Africa indigenous art exhibition, which is the part of the SKA telescope project in Brussels, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas hinted that so far, the EU has spent about €14.5 million so far for the preparation phase and design of the telescope.
According to skatelescope.org “Shared Sky stems from a vision by the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) to bring together under one sky Aboriginal Australian and South African artists in a collaborative exhibition celebrating humanity’s ancient cultural wisdom. This vision embodies the spirit of the international science and engineering collaboration that is the SKA project itself, bringing together many nations around two sites in Australia and South Africa to study the same sky”.
Interestingly, on April 23 there was a major news as Australia’s Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash launched Phase Two of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a world-leading low‑frequency radio telescope located in the Murchison Radio Quiet Zone, in Western Australia, designed to examine the origins of the universe. She explained that the lessons learned from building and operating the MWA are vital to delivering the SKA.
The upgrade doubles the number of antenna stations from 128 to 256 and makes the telescope, which is a precursor to the SKA, 10 times more powerful.
The array is one of four precursor telescopes for the much larger billion-dollar Square Kilometre Array joint-project with South Africa and now has more than 4000 antennas with the completion of its phase two expansion. The MWA is located at the Murchison Radio Astronomy Observatory,350 kilometres north-east of Geraldton in Western Australia and will also be the site of the SKA.
The SKA build will begin in 2020 and when complete, it will be 50 times more powerful than phase two of the MWA.