The Square Kilometre Array
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is set to become the world’s most advanced radio telescope – 10,000 times more powerful than current telescopes. It will enable scientists to test some of the key questions in physics and about the nature of the Universe. Using thousands of antennae and dishes located in Australia and South Africa, this project will provide more than one million square metres of collecting area, using the fastest-ever communications network in the field of astronomy. The global headquarters for the project, at Jodrell Bank in the UK, co-ordinates construction and global collaboration of technical experts in radio astronomy connecting institutions from more than 20 countries.
Once completed, it is hoped that the SKA will remain operational for up to 50 years. The first science observations are expected in the early 2020s. The UK is contributing £100 million towards the construction of the SKA. STFC represents the UK as part of the SKA consortium, and is the central point of contact for engagement with industry. UK industry is already actively engaged in the project, working with UK and foreign universities and institutes to deliver the SKA design, and UK companies have already been awarded contracts in areas such as systems engineering, project management and software development.