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World's largest telescope a step closer to reality

26 February 2019

Infrastructure designs for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Australia and South Africa have been officially completed, marking a significant milestone for the world’s largest telescope.  

The designs were completed by a CSIRO-led Infrastructure Australia consortium, one of twelve groups worldwide designing specific aspects of the Square Kilometre Array.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Australian role in this international project highlights our place on the global stage and the world class abilities of our scientists.

“It takes an impressive amount of engineering skills to overcome the challenges presented by a project of this technicality and scale in the West Australian outback – well and truly off the grid,” Minister Andrews said.

“This incredible telescope will boost scientific capability on a global scale, that’s why the Liberal National Government is investing a further $293 million towards hosting the Square Kilometre Array in Australia.

The completed designs include around 210km of power supply and fibre optic trenching for the telescope’s array of 132,000 individual antennas, 200km of access tracks, and an onsite high-performance computing centre with radio-frequency shielding.

“I’m delighted the Australian and South African infrastructure design groups also worked closely to share knowledge and find solutions that could be applied to both sites, reflecting the global nature of the Square Kilometre Array project,” Minister Andrews said.

“Australia’s leading role in this next generation scientific project provides continued opportunities for industry and reinforces our nation’s position as a global leader in astronomy.”

The Liberal National Government recognises the value of science in growing the economy and creating local jobs. That’s why we’ve invested an additional $2.4 billion to grow our science, research and technology capabilities in the 2018-19 Budget, including increased funding to research agencies like CSIRO over the next four years.

Only under the Coalition’s plan for a stronger economy can Australia’s science and technology sectors continue growing. This plan has already helped create over 1.25 million jobs over the last five years, and investment in our science sector will help drive creation of an extra 1.25 million jobs over the next five years.

More information about the Square Kilometre Array project in Australia is available at www.industry.gov.au/ska

Media Contact: Minister Andrews' Office 02 6277 7070