Infrastructure Australia


During this quarter the whole INAU team has been hard at work as CDR draws closer, particularly with the long break over the Christmas period. There have been various activities occurring, from the design walkthrough in December 2017, to the submission of documents to the EU as part of IN-SKA (described below), through to site visits by various people. A first step of this work towards CDR was an internal Infrastructure Australia design walkthrough held in the Perth Aurecon offices from 11-13 December 2017, where the team spent three days going through all aspects of the design works, with some additional feedback provided by Martin Austin (SKAO), Adriaan Schutte (SKAO) and Tracy Cheetham (Infrastructure South Africa – INSA). The team went through all the design documents to confirm suitability of design, the Level 2 compliance with requirements, and integration of appropriate ECPs.The INAU Review Readiness Notice has also been submitted, following internal meetings and further reviews on the design documents.

INAU has been finalizing its document and design pack for submission to SKAO in advance of the INAU Critical Design Review (CDR) in June 2018. Our dedicated team completed everything by 30 April (the document submission deadline for CDR). Prior to that, INAU prepared a submission to the European Union (EU) as part of the INSKA project. The INfrastructure SKA (INSKA) project, led by SKAO, along with INAU and Infrastructure South Africa (INSA), won €5M funding from the EU in 2016. The funding was awarded under the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, to further advance some of the activities around infrastructure for the SKA. And at the time, the announcement made the news!

The INSKA project has now officially ended (as of 28 February 2018) and INAU has begun the process of sending the final documents in for the project. As part of the scope, this submission includes:

  • design reports for the various INAU work-packages (Buildings, Access, Water & Sanitation, Communications, Transmission Line Engineering, and Ground Preparation);
  • an annual report on INAU’s progress against its milestones;
  • a final report summarising the project; and
  • financial reporting on funding that has been spent and confirming it against the budgeted expenditure.

After all the documents and reports were reviewed by the EU, Ant Schinckel (Consortium Lead), INSA Consortium Lead Tracy Cheetham, and Martin Austin and Simon Berry from SKAO travelled to Brussels to attend a review panel with the EU on 14 March 2018. The team presented 6 hours of overview of SKA and in particular the infrastructure design work INSA and INAU have been hard at work on. The review was a success, and the picture shows the team who attended the review standing outside the EC building

Image 1: Left to Right Ant, Tracy, Martin and Simon.

Rather amusingly, uploading the INAU design documents “broke” the EU’s document upload tool due to the size and number of documents!

INAU has also been working towards the final document submission at the end of April ahead of their CDR in June. A huge thanks goes out to all the INAU team (both in CASS and our industry partners Aureconand RLB) for their hard work in getting the EU submission complete (and CDR documents almost complete)!

A delegation of senior representatives from the SKA Head Office recently made a quick visit to Australia, to tour the MRO and meet with stakeholders. Ant Schinckel led the MRO tour, including a visit to the proposed location of the SKA‐low core (X marks the spot! jpeg).

It was the first site visit for some, including Joe McMullin, SKA’s new Programme Director. The visitors also spent a day at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science HQ in Marsfield. Feedback from staff was very positive, reflecting the relaxed and open exchanges that took place during meetings and a tour hosted by Grant Hampson. Robert Braun delivered a detailed project update in an afternoon colloquium to a packed Marsfield lecture theatre. The visit coincides with the Critical Design Reviews which are now starting to be delivered by all the SKA Consortia in Manchester. Susan Nel (SKAO) also recently visited Australia to review the Document Management traceability, and work with the INAU Configuration Manager regarding all the documents for CDR.

Wearing his Head of SKA-low Construction Planning hat, while Ant was in Europe to attend the IN-SKA review, he visited the Jodrell Bank Observatory and checked out the new SKA Global Headquarters building currently being constructed – the new building isdue for completion in June with progressive occupation in the following weeks.Joe McMullin, Ant Schinckel, Alistair McPherson, Adrian Tiplady and Tracy Cheetham toured the building and Image 2 shows the group standing in what will be the Council Chamber.

Image 2: Joe McMullin, Ant Schinckel, Alistair MacPherson, Adrian Tiplady and Tracy Cheetham.

INAU has also continued to work with the Australian Government (DIIS) on providing input to options around the location of the temporary construction camp, power station, etc. Progress has also been made towards the heritage surveys required for SKA-low to be constructed on Boolardy Station (the MRO is just a small section of this station). These surveys should begin soon (April – May), and are required to allow geotechnical and hydrogeological surveys to proceed. The full site heritage “walkover” is also required to confirm the final Low configuration, including placement of the CPF, stations, roads, accommodation etc.

Whilst progress towards CDR continues, INAU is still considering the path from CDR, through System CDR to tender document creation, procurement and construction. Clearly an ongoing interaction with SKAO and the key stakeholders will be required, and we are working to determine the best basis for that.

Image 3: X marks the spot

Report provided by the Infrastructure Australia consortium