Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an international project to build the world’s largest radio telescope. The telescope is expected to augment with, and complement a range of other large telescopes in the optical and infrared spectrum, to be built or launched into space in the coming decades.
The project comprises of two main sites covering two components of the Square Kilometre Array. These are:
- low-frequency array (SKA-Low) in Murchison, Western Australia, and
- mid-frequency array (SKA-Mid) in Karoo, South Africa.
Western Australia’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, operated by CSIRO, will host the SKA-Low component of the project. This array is expected to provide resolutions that are eight times more sensitive, and 135 times faster compared to current-best telescopes. Initially, this is expected to comprise 512 stations spread over 65 kilometres, representing a total of 130,000 SKA-Low antennas, with a final capacity of up to one million.
The announced major packages for the project so far include:
- Package One comprising power, fibre and necessary access infrastructure to the central core and spiral arms of SKA-Low
- Package Three, covering construction of buildings for data processing and operational offices, and
- Package Seven, covering the construction of a main access road and an emergency airstrip.
|Dec 2015||Project Announcement|
|Jan 2021||Expected Contract Award|
|2022||Expected Construction Commencement|
|Dec 2029||Expected Construction Completion|
This funding includes Federal Government's announcements from December 2015 and April 2021.
|Procuring Agency:||Square Kilometre Array Observatory|
|Dec 2015||The Federal Government committed $294 million for the project.|
|Apr 2021||The Federal Government allocated $387 million for the project over the 10 years from FY2021-22. This funding included Australia’s share of constructing the SKA-Low component, establishing and operating a computing and data management centre in Perth, purchasing land for the site, and providing fibre-optic connectivity to communities near the SKA-Low site.|
|May 2021||The Federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources invited Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for the construction and operation of a temporary ‘construction camp’ to enable the delivery of SKA-Low.|
|Jun 2021||SKA Observatory Member States approved the start of construction of the Square Kilometre Array telescope in Australia and South Africa. Major construction in Australia is expected to be delivered in stages, with the earliest start for the first stage estimated by August 2021, and the construction completion estimated by 2029.|
|Jul 2021||Expressions of Interest (EOIs) opened for three major packages for the project. Package One comprises power, fibre and necessary access infrastructure to the central core and spiral arms of SKA-Low. Also commencing procurement was Package Three, including construction of buildings for data processing and operational offices, and Package Seven, covering the construction of a main access road and an emergency airstrip. The EOI phase closes on 10 August, with Invitations to Tender phase for qualifying bidders expected by 20 September. All three contracts were expected to be awarded in January 2022, with their work to be completed by the end of 2024.|