Skip to main content

GMV has been awarded the contract to develop the SKA telescopes’ Timescales

By Eric Van Rees - 20th March 2024 - 07:24

The SKA Observatory will be the largest radio-astronomy facility on Earth, with two telescope arrays currently under construction in remote areas of Western Australia and South Africa

GMV has been awarded a contract to develop the Timescales for the SKA Observatory’s (SKAO’s) two ground-breaking telescopes. The SKAO is an intergovernmental organisation with its Global Headquarters in the UK, at the historic site of Jodrell Bank Observatory near Manchester. The SKAO’s mission is to build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to transform our understanding of the Universe, and to deliver benefits to society through global collaboration and innovation.

The SKA telescopes will cover two different frequency ranges. SKA-Mid, an array of 197 traditional dish antennas, is being built in South Africa's Karoo region, while SKA-Low, an array of 131,072 smaller tree-like antennas, is being built in Western Australia, on Wajarri Yamaji Country. For each telescope, the individual dishes and antennas work together as a huge array, with signals being digitally combined. The arrays will both be spread across large distances, with the most distant antennas being separated by 150km in South Africa, and 74km in Australia.

Using cutting-edge technology, including some of the fastest supercomputers in the world, they will make it possible to study the Universe in exquisite detail, revealing the environments around black holes, tracking the journeys of gravitational waves, and enabling a host of other ambitious science investigations.

Due to the sheer volume of data that will have to be transported, processed, stored, and distributed to end users around the globe, the SKA project is considered by many the ultimate Big Data challenge. An average of 8 terabits per second of data will be transferred over hundreds of kilometres from the telescopes. This is around 65,000 times faster than the estimated average home broadband speed in 2023.

Read More: Big Data Aerospace

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay updated on the latest technology, innovation product arrivals and exciting offers to your inbox.