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System engineering success for the Square Kilometre Array project

3rd March 2011, Manchester, UK

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project has successfully passed the system engineering conceptual design review, an important milestone in the project timeline. The review (System delta CoDR) was held at the University of Manchester between 23 and 25 February 2011, and was conducted by a panel of international experts in the field of system engineering, radio astronomy, particle physics, large international project collaborations, and consumer electronics and semiconductors.

The System delta CoDR review panel, members of the SPDO, members of contributing organisations and review observers.

The panel congratulated the SPDO (SKA Program Development Office) and the contributing organisations on the professionalism of the system engineering approach. A system as large and complex as the SKA is comprised of millions of parts, each of which must be fit for purpose and value for money. The review panel examined the system level technical progress, the focus and feasibility of the project and the maturity level of the project given the phase it is in.

The panel particularly welcomed the prioritisation of the engineering design based of the science requirements of the SKA. The panel were also impressed by the organisation of the project into Phase 1, Phase 2 and the Advanced Instrumentation Program which has reduced the risk related to the use of technologies currently under development.

Major decisions lie ahead for the SKA project with important announcements regarding funding, the governance structure and the location of the SPO (SKA Project Office) to be made at the beginning of April. The panel congratulated the project on the plans for the future which provide a clear view of the path forward.
The SPDO wishes to thank all the contributors and participants for the part they played in ensuring the successful completion of this milestone.