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Work starts on world’s largest telescope project
Construction work has started on the headquarters for the world’s largest radio telescope project in Cheshire.
The ground-breaking event for the Square Kilometre Array Global Headquarters (SKA GHQ) has been held on the SKA premises at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank site. It was attended by University of Manchester deputy vice-chancellor Professor Colin Bailey, SKA Organisation director-general Professor Philip Diamond, and representatives from the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Cheshire East Council.
The 45,208 sq ft SKA GHQ (pictured) will eventually be home to more than 135 staff from more than 13 countries, tasked with managing the construction and operations of the SKA telescopes, located in southern Africa and western Australia. The finished telescopes will be several times more sensitive and hundreds of times faster at mapping the sky than today’s best radio astronomy facilities.
Equipped with a 10Gb/s connection to the national research network, the building will include 18 meeting rooms equipped with videoconferencing to work with teams spread over 20 time zones, as well as a council chamber which can be converted into a 159-seat auditorium for scientific conferences and public talks.
Professor Philip Diamond said: “On behalf of the SKA board of directors and our member countries, I was delighted to welcome our distinguished guests to this ground-breaking ceremony as their backing has been essential in securing this investment. In the next ten years, the SKA Global Headquarters will become a real nexus for radio astronomy internationally, and is a fantastic continuation of the proud history of radio astronomy at Jodrell Bank.”
The bid to make Jodrell Bank the headquarters of the SKA was backed by the UK government via the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the University of Manchester and Cheshire East Council, as well as Oxford and Cambridge universities. The £16.5m new SKA GHQ due to open in June 2018 is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (£9.8m) via the STFC, the University of Manchester (£5.7m) and Cheshire East Council (£1m). Read more
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