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1st of July 2021
Green Light for SKA Construction
The newly formed SKA Observatory (SKAO) Council last week approved the start of construction of the SKA telescopes in Australia and South Africa. The two telescopes, currently designated SKA-Low and SKA-Mid (names which describe the radio frequency ranges they cover), will be the two largest and most complex networks of radio telescopes ever built.

The decision to approve construction follows the creation of the SKAO as an intergovernmental organisation earlier this year, and the publication of two key documents, the Observatory’s Construction Proposal and Observatory Establishment and Delivery Plan, last year. The cost of constructing the two telescopes and the associated operations and business-enabling functions will be 2 billion euro over the period 2021 – 2030.

Procurement of major contracts for the SKA telescopes will start immediately, with some market surveys having already been conducted in the past few weeks. Over the coming months, some 70 contracts will be placed by the SKAO within its Member States, with competitive bidding taking place within each country. The first significant activity on site is due to happen early next year, with construction of the telescopes lasting until 2028. The SKAO recognises and acknowledges the Indigenous peoples and cultures that have traditionally lived on the lands on which the SKAO facilities are located.

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