As a global observatory, the SKAO will include and make use of facilities distributed across the world.
In addition to the telescope sites for SKA-Mid in South Africa and SKA-Low in Western Australia, each host country will also host facilities external to the telescope sites, where critical scientific and technical support for SKAO operations will take place.
Science Operations Centres: Perth and Cape Town
All telescope-specific science operations activities will be based here. This includes telescope control and observation execution by the telescope operators, carrying out quality assessment to ensure the data collected are of sufficient quality for delivery to the global network of SKA Regional Centres (SRCs). Software support and most administrative functions will also be based at the relevant Science Operations Centre.
Science Processing Centres: Perth and Cape Town
These high-performance computing centres will host the Science Data Processors, two powerful supercomputers.
Engineering Operations Centres: Geraldton and Klerefontein
These will function as the administrative bases for telescope site activities and will also host mechanical/electrical/instrument workshops and RFI measurement chambers.
Integration Test Facilities: Geraldton and Cape Town
During construction, these facilities will be used to test as much of the telescope system as possible in a stable and controlled laboratory environment ahead of assembly on-site. They aim to reduce risks during site deployment, enable early feedback, and allow the interfaces between products to be tested with real hardware.
Telescope operators will sit in Operations Control Centres for each telescope, at either the Science or Engineering Operations Centre. The Global Headquarters will contain an Operations Monitoring Centre for monitoring telescope operations.
A global network of SKA Regional Centres (SRCs) in Member States will provide portals to data products, platforms/forums for advanced scientific analysis, and user support and training for astronomers using data collected by the SKA telescopes. The SRCs will operate as a fully integrated network to ensure that all SKA users are able to access data products and the tools to analyse them.
The SKAO Global Headquarters is the home of the SKA Observatory, the intergovernmental organisation set up to facilitate global collaboration in radio astronomy and build the SKA telescopes.
Located on the Jodrell Bank site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its contribution to the development of radio astronomy, the SKAO GHQ is home to some 160 professionals from 23 countries overseeing the work of the intergovernmental organisation.
Funded by a £16.5 million grant from the UK Government, the University of Manchester and the local Cheshire East Council, it was designed from the start to be an inspirational workplace for an international workforce, fostering a culture of collaboration and with the ambition to become a nexus for radio astronomy internationally.
The 4,200sqm facility is equipped with state-of-the-art meeting rooms and video-conferencing capability, a dedicated 10Gbit/s connection to the national research network, as well as electric vehicle charging points and sustainable design.
The SKAO GHQ shares the site with the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory, a working scientific facility that operates the 76-metre Lovell Telescope – the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world, and the Jodrell Bank Centre for Engagement, responsible for public access to and engagement with both the science and heritage of the site and a renowned leader in engaging the public with science attracting some 165,000 visitors each year including 22,000 school pupils.
Currently, the SKAO's offices in Perth are located in the Australian Resources Research Council (ARRC) building on the Curtin University campus, located on the traditional lands of the Whadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation.
ARRC is a hub where scientists can interact, exchange information and explore new ideas in partnership with industry, universities, government and the community. Located in Western Australia’s Technology Park, ARRC is a major initiative of the Western Australian State Government, CSIRO and Curtin University.
The South African SKAO offices are located in the Observatory suburb of Cape Town. Refurbishment of a temporary space is currently in process, so watch this space as we get ready to welcome you to the newest offices in the SKAO family! The offices are surrounded by good company in the field of science, research and astronomy, as they are situated in close proximity to the National Research Foundation, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory and the South African Astronomical Observatory.