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Industry Engagement

A number of design concepts for the SKA are now in the pathfinder and demonstration phase; the final SKA technology will be selected from these. Regardless of which concepts are chosen, the scale of the project means that industry involvement is required in the development, manufacturing, construction, and maintenance of the instrument.

SKA industry interaction basics

ASKAP

CSIRO’s Ben Lauter, 17 metres in the air in the basket of the telehandler, tightening the last bolts of the L-band feed on the first ASKAP antenna in March 2010. Credit: Carole Jackson, CSIRO

The international SKA project, and its associated national and regional consortia programs, welcomes interest from potential industry partners. In general terms any joint research and development is viewed as a shared-risk endeavour, with SKA consortia and industry each contributing to defined activities. In some countries industry may benefit from offset or government funding programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advantages of early stage collaboration

Some benefits of joint R&D with the SKA community are:

  • The opportunity to grow and hone the creative energies of the best professionals in an imaginative project whose aim is no less than to chart the history of the Universe;
  • The ability to perfect leading-edge techniques and products in a very demanding application and to interact with highly technologically sophisticated users;
  • The ability to generate and share information with other R&D partners – both institutional and industrial – in a benign and commercially non-threatening environment;
  • The visibility flowing from association with an innovative, high profile, international mega-science project; and
  • The potential for early involvement and favourable positioning in a huge global science project project spanning a wide range of engineering and computing disciplines.

Stages in engagement

The SKA project plan contains a number of key dates, each of which is relevant to commercial entities interested in the project. A list of historical and future dates and potential opportunities around these times are shown in the table below.

Year Milestone Notes
2009 The two precursor (SKA demonstrator) sites issue contracts for early infrastructure deployment. Western Australia (ASKAP), and South Africa (MeerKAT).
2009 Concept definition stage for various technical domains in SPDO design costing. Antennas, Signal Transport, Signal processing, Software and Computing.
2010-11 Pathfinder and precursor groups develop and test new technologies. Precursors continue deployment. LOFAR, MWA, FAST, ATA, EVLA, eEVN, eMERLIN.
2012-2013 SPDO becomes SKA Organisation and finalises baseline design and costed system.
Site recommendation by the SSEC.
Partly based on input and experience from industry.
2013-17 Detailed SKA design and production engineering. Tooling, prototype and fabrication opportunities.
2017-2018

Preparation of tenders and contracts for SKA construction.

2018-2023 Construction of SKA phase 1. Maximum industry involvement at levels of final design, project management, and construction contracts and sub-contracts.
2018-2012 SKA Phase 2 detailed design Industry opportunities in design
2023 SKA Phase 1 complete. Continuing operations and maintenance role for industry.

See opportunities for industry