The SKAO is designed to deliver transformational science for at least 50 years. The Observatory’s aim is to build and operate a sustainable infrastructure, and work to minimise negative environmental and other impacts of the construction and operation of the telescope over its entire lifetime. This includes conservation of resources, minimising waste generation, maximising the use of renewable energy, and minimising the use of potable water during construction, among other measures. To this end, the SKAO has included sustainability as a requirement within its procurement policy.
SKAO’s partners have also been working very closely with the local populations around the telescope sites, including Indigenous communities. SKAO is committed to building on these various initiatives already in place and to developing new ones, in particular ensuring that Indigenous history, culture and traditions are respected, preserved and celebrated as an intrinsic part of the SKA.
The SKA telescope sites are located in extremely remote locations with an almost pristine radio frequency environment. Protection from terrestrial sources of interference that could disturb the astronomical observations is provided by the site location together with strict laws to regulate the use and installation of equipment in radio quiet zones around the radio telescopes. However, satellites and aircraft will still pass over the sites, potentially producing interference in the SKA frequency bands. Working closely with other astronomy organisations as well as industry and international regulatory bodies, SKAO’s spectrum management activities coordinate with industry and negotiate special agreements to ensure satisfactory solutions to mitigate the impact of satellite constellations and keep the night sky a sustainable resource for all.