Editorial from the Director-General


Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the December 2018 edition of SKA eNews, a publication aimed at informing the broad community and the public about progress towards the construction of the SKA.

Traditionally, newsletters at this time of the year tend to reflect on the year past, which I’ll do in a moment, but I also want to look ahead to a hopefully exciting year for the SKA. Looking into my crystal ball, I see the signing ceremony establishing the SKA Observatory as a treaty organisation; I see the official opening of the expanded SKA Global Headquarters in July; I see our biennial major science meeting in April 2019, and our regular engineering meeting scheduled for November; I also see the final element Critical Design Reviews (CDR) being completed and the year culminating in the overall SKA System CDR. I’m sure there will be numerous other milestones along the way, but these are the major ones I wish to see us accomplish and they will all be critical to enable us to proceed to SKA1 construction in 2020.

So, looking back on 2018, I’ll provide a partial list of the key happenings. My apologies go in advance for any I leave off – that is always the risk when one writes down a list:

  • February: inauguration of the SKA-Mid prototype antenna in Shijiazhuang, China
  • April: Telescope Manager CDR
  • April: 26th Board meeting, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • May: Signal & Data Transport CDR
  • May/June: initialling of the SKA Observatory Convention at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • June: Infrastructure Australia CDR
  • June: Spain joined the SKA Organisation
  • July: Infrastructure South Africa CDR
  • July: SKA Science & Engineering Advisory Committee met at FAST, China
  • July: 27th Board meeting, Cape Town, South Africa
  • July: MeerKAT inauguration
  • July: France joined the SKA Organisation
  • August: SKA at IAU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • September: Apertif inauguration
  • September: Central Signal Processor CDR
  • September: SKA Global HQ construction complete, start occupying building
  • October: MeerKAT integration CDR
  • November: 28th Board meeting, SKA HQ, UK
  • December: Low-Frequency Aperture Array CDR

If I am to highlight just one of those it must be the inauguration of MeerKAT, the 64-dish array in the Karoo, South Africa. I wholeheartedly congratulate my South African colleagues for this magnificent achievement, which they commemorated with a memorable image of the centre of our own galaxy.

I was informed just this week that another milestone achieved was the submission of document #1000 into the SKA design archive. For those interested, its title was “A Model for SKA Regional Centre global size estimation” and the lead author was Rosie Bolton of SKAO.

To end, I wish all our readers and colleagues a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Professor Philip Diamond, SKA Organisation Director-General.