Infrastructure South Africa


The INFRA SA Consortium is responsible for the design of the Infrastructure & Power Products for SKA1-mid in South Africa. This includes Access (roads, civil works), Buildings, Communication, Site Monitoring, Security, Antenna Foundations, Vehicles, Power, Water and Sanitation.

The Consortium awaits the release of Level 1 Rev 11 requirements which will be the basis of the Consortium finalising its detailed design. There has been good interaction with other Consortia on updating the external Interface Control Documents during and subsequent to the SKA Engineering meeting.

The Consortium is also in discussion with the SKAO to agree on an update to the Product Breakdown Structure.

The Consortium is engaging with the SKAO to update to the Consortium’s Stage 2 Milestones and Deliverables now that the design baseline has been agreed to with the Board.


A comprehensive trade-off model has been developed by the Consortium to consider the trade-off in lifecycle costs between providing standalone PV (renewable) plants as opposed to overhead power distribution lines to some of the antennas in the spiral arms. The Consortium is participating in the Configuration Review Board to provide final inputs to this ECP for consideration by the Configuration Control Board.

The powerline route surveyor has completed the route survey on site which will be an input into the final routing of power and fibre in the spiral arms.

The detailed design of the core site power has been completed. Work is now underway on finalising the Digsilent modelling of the power system (including the existing 33kV powerline).

SKA1-mid Antenna Foundation Prototype

The construction of the antenna foundation prototype has been completed and the “pull test” is scheduled to take place on the 2 August 2017.

Photo 1 & 2: Construction progress on SKA1-mid Antenna Foundation prototype

Figure 1: “Pull Test” Setup

Under Operational Condition:

A tilting moment of 490 kNm acting at the Point of Application of Load (PAL) is specified. The required pull force (F) applied by the Puller is 168 kN

Upgrade to Central Processing and Power Facility

The tender to appoint a design engineering team to assist the Consortium with the detailed design of the upgrade the Central Processing Facility and Power Facility has been awarded to Aurecon South Africa. A kick-off meeting has been held with the Aurecon team as well as a technical walkthrough held on site to discuss the scope of work for this contract.

Good progress has been made with the CSP Consortium on defining the cooling, power and rack requirements in the Central Processing Facility and work is now underway to confirm that the CSP Consortium will fit into the current space, power and cooling requirements in the CPF.

SKA1-mid Physical Configuration

Following interaction between the powerline route surveyor and landowners in the spiral arms, SKA SA is in discussion with the SKAO to propose final changes to the SKA1-mid physical configuration.

Site Characterisation Studies

The geotechnical contractor has completed the Phase 2 drilling on site as an input to the detailed design of the antenna foundations. The geo-hydrological contractor will re-establish on site in August to complete borehole yield testing as an input to finalising the geo-hydrological modelling.

EMC/EMI Control Plans

The Consortium has developed an overarching EMC/EMI Control Plan which defines the process in which EMC/EMI is managed within the Consortium. The Consortium is now addressing the various products through analysis, measurement and proposed mitigation measures which need to be considered either in design or during procurement/construction.

Health & Safety Hazard Analysis

Work has commenced on a detailed hazard analyses for the infrastructure and power products. This work will be discussed with the SKAO to ensure compliance to the SKA requirements.

Cost Plan Updates

The Consortium submitted its updated Cost Plan to the SKAO in June 2017. There has been an increase in the capital cost from €67,879,347 to €68,416,602 due to the additional of initial spares to the capital budget as well as gaps there were identified in the current design.

The operations budget has been reduced from €1,486,458 to €1,043,553 per annum as a result of initial spares being shifted to the capital budget.

Report provided by the Infrastructure South Africa consortium