Welcome to the northern spring/southern autumn edition of the SKA eNews, through which we try to bring you news from across the international SKA project demonstrating the excellent progress both in the design and science activities. As a reminder, this publication is complementary to the bi-monthly SKAO Bulletin, reporting on activities within the SKA Office (latest issue is available here).
2018 is already shaping up to be a busy year. In February, I was pleased to be present at the inauguration of the first SKA-Mid prototype dish at the CETC54 factory in Shijiazhuang, south of Beijing. I led an SKAO delegation to this event, which took place on a bitterly cold, but beautifully clear day. Our Chinese hosts had, as usual, excelled themselves with a large, heated marquee being set up for the event, several distinguished speakers (including MOST Vice-Minister Huang Wei) provided short comments on China’s role in SKA and then we went outside for the inauguration and first, formal movement of the dish. All in all, a very satisfactory day. You will see photographs of the event elsewhere in this Newsletter.
We have also now entered the season of Critical Design Reviews (CDR). Each CDR panel has strong external membership and is chaired by a senior member of staff from SKA Organisation. To arrive at the appropriate level of readiness for CDR, a consortium has produced a reference design for its piece of SKA, supported by extensive prototyping, documentation, testing and validation. This is a major piece of work for the consortia members, and I thank them for their dedication to the task, both those people working within TM (who recently had their review) and those preparing for the CDRs to come. The overall SKA1 system CDR is scheduled for mid-2019.
The 26th Board meeting of SKA Organisation was held in Gothenburg, Sweden, hosted by our colleagues at Onsala Space Observatory and Chalmers University of Technology. It was an excellent meeting with the Board being provided with an update on construction and operations costs; discussing the development of a plan for continued engineering activities for the period between the end of system CDR and the start of construction; accepting the Operations Model Review which was conducted in February; being updated on the excellent progress on MeerKAT, HERA, ASKAP and MWA; and getting an update from Observers on the numerous activities happening in their countries. On the policy side, the Board was updated on the progress towards the establishment of the inter-governmental observatory, the SKA Observatory, and the preparations for the transition from the current organisation to the Observatory. In addition, our colleagues at Onsala Space Observatory organised two tours of the site, a beautiful location on the sea front south of Gothenburg.
Professor Philip Diamond, SKA Organisation Director-General.
11th May 2018