The focus during this period has been towards Infrastructure Australia’s Critical Design Review meeting held at the SKAO 27 – 29 June 2018. All 2.3 GB (620 individual documents) were submitted on schedule and the team flew to Manchester for the meeting.
Since just after document submission, the team has been working through its OARs items, responding to the various questions and comments from the review panel. Whilst many items were closed out in this period, a number of course went through for discussion at the face-to-face meeting. This meeting was scheduled for the very end of June, carefully selected to coincide with the hottest weather in years to make the Australians (and South Africans, who had their CDR the following week) feel at home with temperatures over 31deg C.
The team for the face-to-face meeting consisted of Ant Schinckel (CSIRO, Consortium Lead), Rebecca Wheadon (Aurecon, Project Manager), Shandip Abeywickrema (Aurecon, Project Engineer), James Massoud (Aurecon, Power Engineer), Matt Burley (Aurecon, Civil Engineer), Mark Bendotti (RLB – Quantity Surveyor) and Graham Allen (CSIRO, General Engineer, via Videocon). It should be noted that this is just the tip of the iceberg – there have been over 90 people who have been involved in developing the Infrastructure Australia design material!
The review went very well, with a lot of discussions on a number of topics. The addition of the scenarios to be studied on the last day proved very useful. Whilst some version of this (“use” cases) had been considered internally, these did produce some new information – for example around aspects of which equipment should be on which UPS in an emergency when you also have a power outage.
I would like to thank the Panel for many very useful comments that will in fact lead to a better telescope. Ploughing through all this material was a thankless task I’m sure – but I’ll thank you anyway.
The INAU team was very pleased to receive a Pass, conditional on completing the agreed actions by the CDR closeout date (30 September 2018).
Since them the team (after some recovery) has been busy working on closing out the OARs action item list.
Whilst in the UK, the INAU team also had the opportunity to tour the soon-to-be-completed new SKAO HQ, the highlight of which is clearly the Council chambers – a very impressive space.
We have also commenced discussions with the SKAO around bridging period activities, tasks, management etc.
In related news, the heritage surveys have commenced and good progress has been made. These surveys are to examine the ground that will be disturbed for the SKA1-low in some detail to look for areas of significance to the Wajarri people, the recognised traditional owners of the land. These walkovers involve a team of Wajarri people along with anthropologists and archaeologists literally walking the entire area that is likely to be disturbed by the construction of SKA to look for any sites that have heritage significance. These range from areas that may have been campsites to cooking areas, graves, sites for ceremonies, tool making sites, hunting areas, etc. Whilst a number of these were known previously, several more have been discovered in this process. The area involved is very large – over a thousand hectares will have to be carefully examined, much of it in long thin strips along the 45 km spiral arms. We expect these surveys to be completed late in 2018, weather permitting.