From its humble beginnings in the early 20th century, radio astronomy has grown in the space of 90 years into a major field of research, enabled by cutting-edge technology.

Radio telescopes and their instrumentation are technically challenging, and very often employ solutions from other sectors that further improve the technology. In return, astronomy offers solutions and techniques which are transferable to other areas of society. Astronomers also have a long tradition of sharing technology through open platforms, making it available to other users.

Technology used in radio astronomy has given rise to many spinoffs, including the invention of WiFi communication, medical imaging and reference systems for space navigation and GPS, among many others. Together, these developments have made an enormous contribution to daily life, global GDP and social well-being.

As the flagship international radio astronomy project of the coming decades, the SKA will fuel further technological advances with the potential to impact areas of society far removed from radio astronomy.

The SKA will produce returns by driving innovation in electronics, communications, computing and data science. It is pushing industry to the technological limit, requiring creativity and exploration. It is expected that technological developments in SKAO Member States and/or the SKA project itself will generate several by-products that will contribute to innovation in our society, in areas such as antennas, receivers, high-performance computing, signal processing, data transfer and low power electronics. The Big Data challenge will itself drive an ecosystem of transferable knowledge and capabilities that will be felt in other sectors.

Explore our impact stories to learn about some of the innovations made possible by the SKA project.

Last modified on 20 June 2022