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SKAO publishes construction proposal and delivery plan for the SKA telescopes

Front covers of the SKA Observatory Establishment and Delivery Plan showing an artist's impression of the SKA mid-frequency dishes, and SKA Phase 1 Construction Proposal showing an artist's impression of the SKA low frequency antennas

Together the SKA Observatory Establishment and Delivery Plan, Construction Proposal and Executive Summary total some 500 pages. (Credit: SKA Observatory)

SKAO Global Headquarters, Jodrell Bank, UK, 25 February 2021  – Following the first meeting of its Council earlier this month, SKAO has published its Construction Proposal for the SKA telescopes as well as its Observatory Establishment and Delivery Plan. 

The two documents and their executive summary, which total some 500 pages, bring together the major outputs from several hundreds of documents that have been produced during the years of detailed planning for the SKA. The Construction Proposal for the SKA telescopes includes a summary of the scientific motivation, the so-called “baseline design” the Observatory will be building, as well as presenting details on the project engineering, computing, and the many broader impacts the project is expected to have on society over the years. The Observatory Establishment and Delivery Plan is a 10-year look ahead covering Observatory operations, business support functions, staffing across the SKAO facilities -in the UK, Australia and South Africa-, as well as a Development Programme to support the scientific development of SKAO.

The Observatory will be one of the mega-science facilities of the 21st Century and will provide capabilities across the radio spectrum that will allow scientists to transform our understanding of the Universe.

These documents are the culmination of many years of work by scientists and engineers from around the globe and we thank all those who contributed so much to the design of the SKA. SKAO is funded by the taxpayers of our Member nations and we publish these key documents so the public can see how their taxes are being spent and also have insight into the benefits that do and will flow from the technology developments required to deliver a state-of-the-art scientific facility.

The publication of these core documents comes after a series of independent external reviews were conducted to ensure the overall readiness to move from planning to construction. The documents were endorsed by the SKA Organisation’s Board of Directors in September 2020, before being endorsed by the SKAO Council at its first meeting in February 2021 as the basis for planning construction. Formal construction approval is expected to be granted by the Council in the coming months.