Square Kilometer Array Telescope

Square Kilometer Array Telescope

We extend our congratulations to and share the excitement and elation of the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, as well as the rest of the African continent on the announce that South Africa will host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope. The project promises to transform the Karoo into the  most buzzing hub of information and communication technology in the world. It is expected to spur economic growth in Southern Africa.The highly anticipated announcement regarding the preferred site for the location of the SKA was made today, 25 May 2012, following a meeting of the SKA Organisation in the Netherlands. This follows nine years of work by the South Africa SKA bid team.

On the basis of its analysis of technical, scientific and other factors, the SSAC unambiguously and by consensus found in favour of the African proposal, as well as the African implementation plans and cost factors. Consequently, the SSAC recommended South Africa and its partner countries as the preferred site for the SKA.

The independent SKA Site Advisory Committee (SSAC), composed of world-renowned experts, carried out an objective technical and scientific assessment of the sites in South Africa and Australia, and identified by consensus Africa as the preferred site. The SKA Organisation has agreed to consider constructing one of the three SKA receiver components in Australia and two will be constructed in Africa. A meeting of the members has decided to split the project, in an unexpected decision given the search for a single site.

An important aspect of the site decision is the recognition of the MeerKAT telescope, being designed and built in the Northern Cape Karoo by South African scientists and engineers, as a critical step towards the implementation of the SKA.

South Africa, with its eight partner countries – Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia – have been working on the bid to host the SKA since 2003. The final proposal was submitted to the SKA Siting Group on 15 September 2011.

The decision by the SKA Organisation to build the majority of the SKA in Africa coincides with celebrations for Africa Day today. In terms of the African agenda, the announcement fits in well with the celebration of the 49th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity and the 10th anniversary of the African Union. The SKA has been endorsed by the African Union, both in 2010 and earlier this year.

For more information visit the SKA website

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